Ron Gardenhire doesn’t feel as if he’s back in the grind. Working with players and being in a dugout during games is what he loves to do.
Travel? That’s a different story.
“When you’re flying into some cities, you’re not exactly flying in a full-sized airplane,” said Gardenhire, who managed the Twins from 2002 through ’14. “First class is no more. You’re in the back, and it’s a little tight back there.”
Hired after the start of the season as a special assistant to General Manager Terry Ryan, Gardenhire has visited every minor league club in the system. He has watched a few games from the stands but usually is in uniform in the dugout, working with the managers and seeing how they run games. He proudly pulled out a legal pad filled with notes on the prospects he has watched.
He was asked how hands-on he is during games.
“I just talk with them,” Gardenhire said. “You want to be hands-on with [Chattanooga manager] Doug Mientkiewicz? I go to the other end of the dugout and let him run his game.”
Gardenhire is at Target Field this week so he can get a look at the major league club. He also wants to be on hand when David Ortiz makes his final visit when Boston plays the Twins this weekend. Ortiz is retiring after the season, and the Twins will honor him before Friday’s game.
The former manager has watched many Twins games on television, and knows what his successor, Paul Molitor, is going through.
“I’ve been there, and I know what the players are going through,” he said. “The harder you try, sometimes, the worse it gets. And they all are busting their tails trying to make it happen, and they are doing things they didn’t do last year.”
Gardenhire accepted the position with the Twins after failing to find another managerial job during the offseason. He spoke with San Diego and Washington, who went with other candidates.
He definitely wants to manage again and would listen if someone wanted to speak with him. For now, he’ll continue in his new role with the Twins.
“If a team decides to make a move and they want to talk to me, I’ll be glad to talk to them because I’d love to manage again,” he said. “But it’s not live or die with me.”
Oswaldo Arcia started in right field on Wednesday, his first time in the lineup since May 30.
Molitor said the team has seen several lefthanded starters lately, which has kept Arcia sidelined. And just so happened that Arcia started against a lefty in Wei-Yin Chen on Wednesday.
It hasn’t helped Arcia that Robbie Grossman has been swinging a hot bat, and Max Kepler was called up and needs at-bats as well. Molitor knows it hasn’t been easy on Arcia.
“Things are fast, and he’s trying to decide on how he fits,” Molitor said. “Not untypical, but I see it in his eyeballs sometimes that it gets a little gazey. I’m going to try to reaffirm to him when we are on the field to trust in the ability he has because we all know there’s a lot of tools in there.”
Arcia made Molitor look like a genius in his first at-bat, when he ripped a double into the right-field corner in the second inning. That enabled Byung Ho Park to advance to third before he scored on Kurt Suzuki’s single.
• Reliever Trevor May was not available Tuesday because of a strained back but felt much better Wednesday and was an option out of the bullpen.