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.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Twins postgame

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 20, 2010 - 3:47 AM

Jon Rauch took a hot shot off his left ankle but stayed in the game and finished the ninth inning on Monday. But the ankle is swollen, and the Twins had x-Rays to make sure nothing was wrong.

``We were worried that Rauch's ankle was broken,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, ``but he's fine.''

I thought Gardenhire was joking when he said that because he also said, ``his tattoos are bigger,'' where he was hit. There's healing in laughter, I guess.

This rotation is no joking matter. I, however, did joke in the paper that Brian Duensing might have to be cloned in order to plug all the leaks in the rotation. Especially if the Twins don't make a deal for starter.

The sense I'm getting now is that the chances of the Twins making a deal for Houston's Roy Oswalt are decreasing. That would make Arizona's Dan Haren or the Cubs' Ted Lilly the next options. Would Lilly's 87 mph fastball survive in the AL? Is that an upgrade the Twins should deal a prospect (s) for? Would Lilly = Kenny Rogers, 2003?

Haren, by the way, has a limited no trade clause in which he could block a deal to 12 teams. The Twins possibly could be on that list, but Haren could still waive a move here for the chance to be in a race for the postseason.

Anthony Slama gave up a run over 1.1 innings on Monday for Class AAA Rochester in a 6-2 loss to Buffalo.He's 0-1, 1.71 with 17 saves at Rochester. He  has allowed  runs in each of his last three outings for the Red Wings. But it was time for him to get out of there.

Rochester is awful. The Red Wings seem to use four relievers a night, so Slama might thrive up here if he can get regular work.
He is 26 years old. And it is time. Slama time.

``I am thrilled to have this opportunity!'' he wrote in a text message. ``I hope I can help the club and contribute in any way.''

Gardenhire also said that Delmon Young should have caught Carlos Santana's fly ball to left in the fifth inning. He pointed out that that kicked off a five-run inning that put the game out of reach. Young was great at the plate. He could have had a four-hit game if he wasn't robbed of a hit by Michael Brantley in the second, but it's a two-way game.


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