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.
Three things after the Twins 6-3 loss to the Yankees - and a defining moment in refereeing during the Packers loss to Seahawks.
1. Willingham's shoulder: You have to wonder what the status of Josh Willingham's shoulder is if the Twins decide to make a date with the MRI machine. Willingham hurt himself when he jumped at the wall, in vain, to catch Eric Chavez's home run in the seventh inning. With eight games left and 35 home runs in the bank, he's a long ball spree away from reaching the 40-home run mark.
2. Lessons learned: You hope Liam Hendriks learns what happens when you leave too many balls over the plate. There were stretches on Monday when he looked up to the task of controlling the Yankees offense. Then he would lay one over the plate. "I can take away some positives from tonight and hopefully finish on a high note," he said. Both pitching coach Rick Anderson and catcher Ryan Doumit told him he made several quality pitches on Monday.
3. Florimon's homer. There might be another baseball rescue effort at Target Field on Tuesday. Pedro Florimon's first major league home run landed in the flowers above the right field wall. After fans went nuts on the plants - even pulling entire pots out of flower box - no one could find the ball. There were discussions after the game about lowering a worker into the flowers in search of the milestone home run.
BATTING TITLE BATTLE
Joe Mauer: 1-for-4 on Monday, batting .322 on the season
Miguel Cabrera: 1-for-5 on Monday, batting .331 on the season
Derek Jeter: 1-for-3 on Monday, batting .322 on the season.
Mike Trout: Off Monday. Batting .323 on the season
Alexi Casilla is headed back to the Twin Cities - and back to the disabled list.
Casilla strained his right hamstring while running to first base on Friday.He failed a fitness test this afternoon at Progressive Field, then dressed and heded for the airport.
``Frustrating'' he said. ``First game back from the DL.''
The Twins are going to announce a replacement soon, but it doesn't appear to be Trevor Plouffe or Luke Hughes. The club apparently is looking at other options, and manager Ron Gardenhire even brought up the waiver wire before the game.
UPDATE: After looking at their options,the Twins are calling up Trevor Plouffe from Class AAA Rochester to replace Casilla.
Matt Tolbert is starting at second base tonight as the Twins take on Cleveland in the second game of a three-game series.
Michael Cuddyer didn't start for the second straight game because of a sore neck and might miss the whole series. Gardy has a two-man bench tonight of Ben Revere and Drew Butera.
Butera is taking grounders at second during pre-game. Just in case.
One unrelated note: I'm was horrified to learn this morning that the Packers are staying at the same hotel as the Twins. Green Bay is in town to play the Browns tonight. There are Twins fans and Packers fans lined up outside the hotel, trying to get autographs.
My best friend in the Twin Cities is a Twins-Packers fan. I still don't get how Packers fans also like the Twins, given the border rivalry.
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Matt Tolbert, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Jason Kubel, RF
6. Jim Thome, DH
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Delmon Young, LF
9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS
Pitching: Brian Duensing, LHP
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Jason Donald, 2B
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Shelley Duncan, DH
6. Kosuke Fukudome, CF
7. Matt Laporta, 1B
8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
9. Ezequiel Carrera, LF
Josh Tomlin, RHP
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