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.

Posts about Roster moves

Roster shakeup: Valencia to Rochester. Liriano to bullpen. Maloney designated for assignment

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 9, 2012 - 10:43 PM

The 8-22 Twins couldn't stand it anymore and made several roster moves after the game.

The Twins optioned third baseman Danny Valencia to Class AAA Rochester. He's gone 26 plate appearances without a hit this month.

Francisco Liriano was demoted to the bullpen.

Matt Maloney was designated for assignment and will likely head to Rochester if he isn't claimed off waivers.

The Twins have selected the contract of righthander P.J. Walters and outfielder Darin Mastroianni from Rochester. Walters will start Saturday. Mastroianni can play all three outfield spots.

Jamey Carroll, and others, will play third.

Will check back after deadline with updates. Until then, discuss.

Three postgame thoughts from LEN3: Roster moves, double plays, can you hit?

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 6, 2012 - 12:08 AM

Twins lose 7-0 to Seattle. Let's get to the three thoughts:

1. If there was ever a time for a prospect in the upper levels of the farm system to get hot, now is the time: There are spaces available on the major league roster. Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire are willing to shake things up to spark this team. Scott Diamond is on his way. Brian Dozier is too. Is there another? Is there another? Where, oh where, is Joe Benson?

2. Double plays: Things could have gotten out of hand earlier on Saturday if not for three double plays turned by the Twins infield. In fact, they got Ichiro to hit into a double play for the second straight game, something I've never seen and thought was impossible. But No. 51 has slowed down.

3. Can you hit? This is ridiculous. The Twins have scored in one of their last 36 innings. Nine hits in four games. I've never seen a team go from smacking the ball around the park and grinding out at-bats to looking meek at the plate. What gives? And how should they address this?

Twins: Jason Marquis headed to New Britain, NOT Rochester

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 4, 2012 - 12:42 PM

UPDATE: Jason Marquis will be optioned to Class AA New Britainr. Marquis, being a veteran player with at least five years of experience, had to agree to the move. Sorry about the confusion, but I got some bad info. Being at New Britain allows Marquis to get to New York to visit his daughter, who's still in the hospital.

If he makes two starts, he could build his pitch count to around 85.

The Twins are expected to announce roster moves sometime today that will officially set their 25-man roster for Opening Day. For instance, righthander Jared Burton and third baseman Sean Burroughs were non-roster invites to camp and have to be officially placed on the roster.

Burroughs could complicate things with his sore back, but he's expected to be O.K. We'll learn more about his condition later.

Fans here will get a chance to see some future Twins today, mainly outfielders Oswaldo Arcia and Angel Morales and shortstop Levi Michael. Arcia was in major league camp for awhile. Morales is still highly thought of but could use a big season. Michael was the Twins' first round pick last June.

Marty Popham was selecrted in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft last December. He was a 20th round pick in 2008 by Cleveland.

Joe Mauer is at first base today and should take some abuse from his brother, Jake, the Miracle manager.

Well, Gardy has talked about having plenty of flexibility with his roster. This looks like his flex offense.....


Daniel Santana, 2B
Jairo Perez, 3B
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Dan Rohlfing, C
Lance Ray, LF
Angel Morales, CF
Danny Rams, DH
Michael Gonzalez, 1B
Levi Michael, SS

Marty Popham, RHP

Denard Span, CF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Justin Morneau, DH
Josh Willingham, LF
Ryan Doumit, C
Luke Hughes, 3B
Trevor Plouffe, SS
Ben Revere, RF

Nick Blackburn, RHP

Twins go for series win in Chicago

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 10, 2011 - 11:52 AM

Sorry about the first edition. I wanted to post something before I hit the clubhouse. I was flying through spell check and hit "change" instead of "ignore" so all  the names were changed to crazy stuff. I was ticked off, but i also laughed at some of the names.

This is a big game.

The Twins can take three of four games from the White Sox and hit the break with a 24-11 record over their final 35 games.

Fortunately for the Twins, Cleveland and Detroit lost on Saturday. So they remained seven games back in the AL Central. Then again, you can lament the fact that they could have closed to within six games.

The bullpen is an issue. The Twins have lost nine games this year when leading after seven innings. Joe Nathan, Matt Capps and Glen Perkins clearly are their guys when it's time finish off a game, but the rest of the bullpen is a question mark. I know Perk and Nathan didn't get it done yesterday but, overall, they are the most reliable arms in that 'pen.

Listening to Gardy's show right now, and he's throwing out a bunch of talking points.

They are disappointed in Jose Mijares, then added that he thinks Chuck James can help them. Hmmm.

He also said Trevor Plouffe probably will be called up soon.

AS for bullpen help, Anthony Slama is on the DL, and Jeff Manship,apparently, has had to go back on the DL..

Denard Span has been sent home. The Twins aren't working out before today's game, so the Twins figured this is a good time for a break. Gardy said on his show that once Span passes his concussion test - expected to be next week - he'll probably head out on a minor league rehab assignment for 7-10 days.

Francisco Liriano is available ouf of the bullpen today.


Twins (40-48)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
5. Danny Valencia, 3B
6. Rene Tosoni, LF
7. Nishi, SS
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Jason Repko, RF

Pitching: Anthony Swarzak, RHP

White Sox (44-47)

1. Juan Pierre, LF
2. Alexei Ramirez, SS
3. Paul Konerko, 1B
4. Adam Dunn, DH
5. Carlos Quentin, RF
6. Alex Rios, CF
7. A.J., C
8. Gordon Beckham, 2B
9. Mark Teahen, 3B

Pitching: Jake Peavy, RHP


Capps in, Nathan out as closer. Roster moves coming?

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 17, 2011 - 11:51 AM

Joe Nathan has been removed as Twins closer. Gardy and Rick Anderson spoke with Nathan after Saturday's game and decided to put him in less stressful situations. Nathan realized that he was hurting the team by trying to close and regain his closing form. Will check in later with updates.

UPDATES: Boy what a newsy morning,

The Twins are expected to make a roster move after the game to bring up a reliever, possibly Jim Hoey. I've also heard rumblings that two relievers will be sent down, which means Anthony Swarzak could get the call too.  UPDATE: Looks like it will be one reliever

Gardy acknowledged that talks have been ongoing about relievers, and mentioned Hoey and Swarzak as candidates. He also likes Carlos Gutierrez but others in the organization don't think he's ready.

My read on this is that with Nathan moved to the other side of the bullpen, Gardy wants a power arm for the late innings as well as someone who can pitch one time through the batting order. Gardy is NOT making Nathan the set-up man. He's going to the back of the bullpen to work in non-stressful situations (good luck there, eventually all relievers have to get big outs).

The manager has not been happy with relievers coming in and walking batters. You can guess which two right-handed relievers are on the hot seat because of that.

Justin Morneau is sick and unable to play today. Joe Mauer was seen walking through the clubhouse (we were unable to talk to him) but he looks thinner and more  pale.

The team went to the batting cages with their two former MVP's laid out in the trainer's room, Ugh.

What a morning. I'm walking from the clubhouse to the elevator and hear an outrageous drum solo going on in the weight room from someone who knows what he's doing. It was Evan Longoria.

Twins (4-10)

1. Matt Tolbert, 2B
2. Alexi Casilla, SS
3. Jason Kubel, RF
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Delmon Young, LF
6. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Steve Holm, C
9. Jason Repko, CF

Pitching: Brian Duensing

Rays (6-8)

1. Sam Fuld, DH
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. B.J. Upton, CF
4. Felipe Lopez, 3B
5. Kelly Shoppach, C
6. Ben Zobrist, RF
7. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
8. Dan Johnson, 1B
9. Elliot Johnson,SS

Jeremy Hellickson, RHP


Current and former Twins take the stage today

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 5, 2010 - 1:39 PM

This is NOT a good idea
``We're starting a pool to see who will need the ambulance first,'' Tom Kelly said.
The Twins Legends game is about to begin, and you glotta worry about someone blowing something out.
Heard that Tim Laudner and Kent Hrbek came out to Target Field while the Twins were on the road and hit off the tee. Dan Gladden, the one road trip he wasn't on, went out and took batting practice too. Even Texas manager Ron Washington, who's playing in the game, has been taking b.p.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire declined to play. I told him I never saw him play and wanted to see him out at second.
``I was a shortstop,'' he said.
``I was taking into consideration your advanced stage,''I said.
``My arm is still better than most of those guys out there!'' he replied,
Michael Cuddyer said he wished the game came after their game against the Rangers.
``Then we could sit in the stands, have a beer and joke on them.''he said.
Just heard that Eddie Guardado is going to pitch the first inning and that Washington, his former manager, will get to face him.

By the way, how in the heck does Charley Walters, who had a sip of coffee with the Twins, qualify to play in this game?

On to current major leaguers....

Ben Revere and his infectious smile arrived in the clubhouse this morning.To make room for Revere,the Twins have designated Matt Fox for assignment. Tough to see that happen to Fox, who pitched fairly well on short notice on Friday.
"I don't like that stuff at all,'' Gardenhire said of DFA-ing Fox.
You wonder if Fox will make it through waivers.
Revere will come off the bench as a pinch runner, defensive replacement. I'm betting that Revere gets a couple starts,especially if Delmon Young continues to struggle in left. Gardy made a point of mentioning that Revere can play left  field.

Revere will wear a helmet equipped with a face guard if he gets the chance to hit.

Jason Kubel's left wrist is well enough for him to start at DH.
Brian Fuentes' back has improved but Gardy had to check to see if he was available today.
Gardy wanted to have Nick Punto activated from the DL to have an extra role player on the bench but one  Twins doctor thinks Punto might need another week to treat  his sore hamstring.
Twins will announce roster moves after the game. Pat Neshek and Glen Perkins are expected to be called up, with Rob Delaney possibly headed back to Class AAA Rochester.


Rangers (75-60)

1. Cristian Guzman, SS
2. Michael Young, 3B
3. David Murphy, LF
4. Vlad The Imapler, DH
5. Nelson Cruz, RF
6. Ian Kinsler, 2B
7. Mitch Moreland, 1B
8. Matt Treanor, C
9. Julio Boborn,CF

C.J.Wilson, LHP

Twins (79-57)

1. D-Span,CF
2. O-Dog, 2B
3. St. Joe, C
4. Cuddy, 1B
5. KuBoom, DH
6. Del, LF
7. J.J.,  SS
8. Tob, 3B
9. Jason Repko, RF

Blackie, 8-9, 6.04




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