La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Tolbert on his way to the Twin Cities

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Twins Farm System, Twins prospects Updated: May 11, 2010 - 9:08 AM

Heard last night that shortstop J.J. Hardy will have his bruised left wrist examined by hand specialist Dr. Tom Varecka today, and that the club has infielder Matt Tolbert flying in from Class AAA Rochester in case Hardy needs to land on the disabled list.

The fact that Tolbert is headed here suggests that the club is leaning toward placing Hardy on the 15-day disabled list, although no announcement has been made yet.

Tolbert didn't have a good spring training at the plate. That, plus the fact that Alexi Casilla was out of options led to Tolbert being cut from camp prior to Opening Day. He was batting .232 in 27 games at  Rochester.

That's not the only thing the Twins are monitoring as they prepare to play the White Sox tonight at Target Field.

Joe Mauer is scheduled to catch tonight, his first action behind the plate since April 30. If all goes well, Wilson Ramos is expected to be sent back to Rochester. Who replaces Ramos on the roster is not known.

My sense is that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire prefers to have a 12-man pitching staff when the club heads out on a seven-game, three city East Coast road trip later this week - they are 9-30 in New York, Toronto and Boston over the past four seasons. But who would come up?

Pat Neshek and Clay Condrey are on the disabled list. Glen Perkins gave up seven earned runs over 51/3 innings on Tuesday. Jose Mijares has a 27.00 ERA in two outings.

Will the Twins clear space on their roster for Anthony Slama or Kyle Waldrop? If not, the signs point to Jeff Manship's return - although he gave up three earned runs in five innings in his last start on Thursday.

In other news, Jim Rantz, the Twins director of minor leagues, made a slew of moves on Monday. He had two pitchers quit on him - righthander Yoslan Herrera at Class AAA Rochester and righthander Henry Arias at Class AA New Britain.

I mentioned yesterday that righthanders Cole DeVries and Deolis Guerra are now at Rochester.

Righthander Michael Allen is at New Britain.

Righthanders Liam Hendricks, Steve BlevinsLoek Van Mil    and lefthander Andrei Lobanov are now at Class A Fort Myers. That's right, Van Mil has been activated, but will stay in Florida's sunshine for awhile to make sure he doesn't break down before going back to New Britain.

For now, righthander Kyle Gibson will remain at Class A Fort Myers - but a promotion to New Britain seems inevitable. He improved to 4-1 last night while lowering his ERA to 1.87 with a win over the Tampa Yankees. Check out Shooter Hunt's line.

I think that covers it. Joe C. is covering the Twins-Sox game tonight, but I'll be around to help monitor any developments.

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