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.

Postgame: White Sox 9, Twins 5

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Twins game coverage Updated: July 26, 2014 - 12:14 AM

Twins pitcher Kevin Correia sounded a little defiant Friday, when he was asked if he was unable to find his form in a 9-5 loss to Chicago. "I felt like I was making my pitches for the most part,'' he said. "Physically, I feel really good right now. I wasn't out there questioning what I was doing. I felt pretty comfortable the whole time.''

Manager Ron Gardenhire didn't see things the same way. He thought Correia appeared to be out of steam as the White Sox smacked him around for four innings at Target Field, amassing 10 hits, two home runs (including Jose Abreu's massive blast into the Twins' bullpen) and seven runs. That's the most hits and runs Correia has ever given up to the Sox, and it came at a bad time, with the Twins' long relievers in need of rest.

Gardenhire said before the game that it was "a little scary'' to have both Sam Deduno and Anthony Swarzak unavailable Friday after pitching multiple innings in recent days. Correia threw 79 pitches in his four innings, but even given the dire circumstances, Gardenhire said he didn't consider leaving him in.

"We don’t want to hurt him,'' the manager said. "We can't afford that right now. He's going to start again here in five days, six days. We can't get him killed.

"That’s two games in a row where he's gotten four innings and he's had to labor, really labor. That wasn’t easy. We just got him out of there and did the best we could with the rest of the guys.''

Correia regretted only the two hanging curveballs that landed over the fence, and he had no answers for his recent woes.

"I've just had two bad starts in a row,'' he said. "I was on a good run. I had a couple bad ones in a row, and now, I need to get on another good run. But I feel good. I threw two bad pitches to their two best hitters.''

Other bits from tonight's game:

--Abreu's homer was his 30th this season, the most in the major leagues. He hit it in his 89th major-league game, becoming the third-fastest player in history to reach the 30-homer mark behind Mark McGwire (84 games) and Rudy York (79). His 15-game hitting streak is the longest active streak in the majors.

--Twins center fielder Danny Santana batted leadoff and went 1-for-4, with a single in the sixth inning. He has a hit in 15 of his 21 games at Target Field and is on a five-game hit streak at home. He entered Friday's game with a .325 average, first among American League rookies.

--The Twins sent infielder Jorge Polanco to Class AA New Britain after the game to make room on the roster for pitcher Logan Darnell, who will start Saturday. Polanco got into Friday's game in the eighth inning and struck out in his only at-bat. "The kid's going to be fine,'' Gardenhire said of Polanco, who has appeared in four games and has two hits in five at-bats. "He's got talent. Now it's just about getting everything in the right order.''

--White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo went 4-for-5 and tied a career high with four hits. He is 9-for-14 against Correia.

See you tomorrow!


Nunez, Colabello replace Plouffe, Parmelee vs. White Sox

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Twins game coverage Updated: July 25, 2014 - 4:59 PM

Good afternoon, La Velle Neal devotees. This is Rachel Blount, who will be sitting in El Presidente's chair while he tends to duties this weekend in Cooperstown. Don't worry, all this power will not go to my head.

Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee will come out of the lineup for tonight's Game 2 against the White Sox, replaced by Eduardo Nunez and Chris Colabello. The home team's lineup:

1--Santana, CF

2--Nunez, 3B

3--Dozier, 2B

4--Colabello, 1B

5--Willingham, DH

6--Arcia, RF

7--Suzuki, C

8--Escobar, SS

9--Fuld, LF

P--Correia (5-12, 4.76)

And for the Whiteys:

1--Eaton, CF

2--Ramirez, SS

3--Abreu, 1B

4--Dunn, DH

5--Viciedo, RF

6--Gillaspie, 3B

7--Beckham, 2B

8--De Aza, LF

9--Flowers, C

P--Danks (8-6, 4.35)

--Manager Ron Gardenhire confirmed today that Kyle Gibson will miss his start Saturday because of stiffness in his back. Logan Darnell will get the start; his recall will be made official after tonight's game. Gibson played catch Friday and felt fine, Gardenhire said, but he does not want to take any chances. He's hoping Gibson will be able to throw a bullpen session Saturday, putting him on course to be ready to start Tuesday.

"You've got to give him more time than that,'' Gardenhire said. "This is a young pitcher who we think the world of, and we're going to make sure we do everything right as far as that goes. We're not going to take a chance and rush him right back into a start.''

--Gardenhire is hoping for a quality start from Kevin Correia tonight, given that Samuel Deduno and Anthony Swarzak both are unavailable. Deduno threw four innings Thursday after starter Phil Hughes took a shot from Adam Dunn off of his right shin, and Swarzak made a spot start Wednesday against Cleveland when Gibson was sidelined by the back injury. "We don't really have a long (reliever) right now,'' Gardenhire said. "Which is a little scary.''

--Nothing new on Hughes, who was relieved not to have broken any bones when he was struck in the fourth inning Thursday. The pitcher is sore, but Gardenhire does not expect him to miss a start.

That's the early news from Target Field. Enjoy the game!

Twins postgame: Hughes takes one off the shin

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 24, 2014 - 11:21 PM

Twins righthander Phil Hughes tried to make a good pitch to Adam Dunn in the fourth inning on Thursday. but missed his spot.

``He made that one hurt,'' Hughes said.

Dunn lined the ball off his shin, causing so much pain that Hughes had to leave the game with a contusion of the right shin. X-Rays were negative, and now its about pain management as Hughes tries to remain in the rotation.

He hopes the pain goes away in a couple days and is thankful the bone didn't break.

``The good thing is once I can do anything on it I don’t have to be cautious about it, I can just do as much as I can stand up to the pain, it’s a good thing,'' he said. ``The way the rotation’s looking right now I feel a responsibility to get out there and not miss any time, and that’s what I’ll try to do.''

It looks like Kyle Gibson (back) will miss his start on Saturday, forcing the Twins to call up someone from Class AAA Rochester (Logan Darnell????). But right now two of the Twins' promising starters are banged up, and that's not good.

KOHL STEWART: The Class A Cedar Rapids righthander missed his start on Thursday with a sore shoulder. The Twins don't think it's serious. But this is the second straight year Stewart has had shoulder problems, which is worth monitoring.


Press conferences before the Twins face White Sox

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 24, 2014 - 3:52 PM

Good afternoon! A few things going on right now....

We're scheduled to speak with Twins GM Terry Ryan about the Kendrys Morales trade made earlier today.

Stephen Pryor, the righthander the Twins received for Morales, was nasty before having surgery to repair his right latissimus dorsi muscle, hitting 100 miles an hour with his fastball. He was 2-1, 4.65 at Class AAA Tacoma and now heads to Rochester.

It's interesting to see Jorge Polanco  back,

We're also scheduled to meet with Twins president Dave St. Peter to talk about their reaction to Chuck Knoblauch's domestic troubles.

Will check back with lineups and updates soon!

Knoblauch charged with assault; Twins scrap Hall of Fame day

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under People Updated: July 24, 2014 - 2:37 PM

Chuck Knoblauch has been charged with assaulting his wife, and as a result will not be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame on Aug. 23.

Knoblauch was the 1991 American League rookie of the year with the Twins.

The Twins issued this statement: In light of recent news reports surrounding Chuck Knoblauch, as well as direct communication with the former Twins second baseman, the Minnesota Twins have decided to cancel the team’s 2014 Hall of Fame induction ceremony scheduled for August 23 at Target Field. In January of this year, Knoblauch was elected by a 62-member committee consisting of local and national media, club officials, fans and past elected members, using rules similar to those necessary for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. 

Knoblauch was arrested in a Houston suburb on Wednesday after an early morning call to the police. He was charged with misdemeanor assault on a family member, and was released on $10,000 bond.

News92 FM in Houston reported:

Memorial Villages police were called to their home on Forest Glen around 4 a.m. Wednesday. When officers arrived, they said Knoblauch appeared to be intoxicated. Police said Knoblauch’s wife told them she was asleep in her child’s room when her husband came in, upset that [s]he wasn’t sleeping in their bed. He allegedly grabbed her by the arm and started smashing her head into a wall.

Knoblauch is accused of throwing a humidifier at her before she ran from the room. Police said Knoblauch’s wife had a large bruise on her arm, a large scratch on the left side of her face and a visible knot on her forehead.

Back in 2009, felony charges were dismissed in an incident in which Knoblauch was accused of choking his then-common-law wife Stacey Stelmach at their Bunker Hill Village home. According to court records, he also got a one-year year deferred adjudication and a fine in a 2010 charge of assault on a family member.

And it doesn’t end there. He was also charged with interference with public duties after allegedly pushing an officer in March of this year. Knoblauch is due in court on that charge next month.

Twins trade Kendrys Morales to Mariners

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Twins Farm System, Twins offense, Twins prospects Updated: July 24, 2014 - 1:53 PM

The Twins have traded Kendrys Morales to the Mariners for relief pitcher Stephen Pryor.

Pryor is a 25-year-old righthander who is recovering from surgery to repair a right latissimus dorsi muscle. He has pitched in 34 games for the Ms over the past three seasons, with 32 innings and 35 strikeouts. He is 2-1 with a 4.65 ERA in 31 innings this season at Class AAA Tacoma.

He will report to Rochester this week.

Morales was signed as a free agent by the Twins on June 8 and is hitting .234 with 11 doubles and one home run.

The Twins recalled infielder Jorge Polanco from Class A Ft. Myers to take Morales’ spot on the 25-man roster.



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