NEW YORK -- The strain of losing is difficult, it's true. He's lost plenty of sleep, and spends a lot of time worrying about his players and coaches. But Ron Gardenhire made it clear on Friday that he's not interested in walking away from the job he's held for 11 1/2 seasons -- managing the Twins.
"I like managing. I like running the ballclub. I have a lot of fun doing it," the Twins' manager said before his slumping team opened a three-game series in Yankee Stadium. "I get to see a lot of really good players, on both sides. Best seat in the house. Hottest seat, too, right now. That goes with the territory."
Gardenhire acknowledged that many Twins fans are unhappy with the team's decline over the past three seasons, and especially with him. But at a remarkably upbeat press conference, considering his team has lost 11 of its last 12 games, he said he has no plans to quit. "I've seen an awful lot of good here. It's a little rough right now; we're trying to figure that out," he said. "As long as they keep me here, I'll try to figure it out. If they decide they want to do something, that's what they decide."
"They" in this case is presumably general manager Terry Ryan and the Pohlad family. Gardenhire has had a strong relationship with Ryan for years, and considers the Pohlads "great owners and good friends. They've treated me very well." But he has had no discussions with any "decision-makers" about his job status -- "except my wife."
He also responded to Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse's Thursday column, which proposed that Gardenhire not be made to suffer through "another death march" in the season's second half.
"It's never good when someone starts out with, 'Goodbye, Gardy.' But the article was actually" complimentary, Gardenhire said. "I think it was an entertaining article, let's put it that way. As a manager, when people start writing things like that, it's really not good."
The 2010 A.L. Manager of the Year also said he doesn't believe the current team will suffer the fate of his last two teams, which lost 99 and 96 games. "I believe we can run off a 10-game winning streak, just like we ran off a 10-game losing streak, and that's the streak I'm looking for," Gardenhire said. He's losing sleep trying to find answers for the slump, he said, but "as a manager, it would be a lot of fun to turn this thing around with this group. That's what my goal is."
He'll try to end the current five-game losing streak tonight with a shuffled lineup. Chris Parmelee is batting second tonight against righthander Hiroki Kuroda, the second time he's batted that high this year. It's a move made for its own sake, Gardenhire said, just trying to change things up after getting swept in Tampa Bay.
Justin Morneau is back in the lineup, too. He felt "sore all over," particularly in his legs, after a week's worth of games on artificial turf in Toronto and Tampa Bay, but took early batting practice and said he's much better today.
The headlines here are all about Derek Jeter, who made his 2013 debut last night, then suffered a strained quad while running the bases. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman announced that Jeter will not play this weekend.
The lineup from new Yankee Stadium, where a light rain is currently falling: