Twins shake up coaching ranks: 4 out, Vavra, Ullger reassigned
- Blog Post by: La Velle E. Neal III
- October 4, 2012 - 5:09 PM
The Twins are making big changes to their staff after a second straight 96-plus loss season.
Bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, third base coach Steve Liddle, first base coach Jerry White and head trainer Rick McWane have been let go, while hitting coach Joe Vavra and bench coach Scott Ullger will oversee infield and outfield instruction, respectively.
The Twins did not name reaplacements. But it's expected that Class AAA Rochester manager Gene Glynn, Rochester batting coach Tom Brunansky and pitching coach Bobby Cuellar will join the staff.
Assistant trainer Dave Preumer could be in line to take over for McWane.
Stelmaszek, who just completed his 32nd season as a coach and was the longest-tenured member of the club, and Liddle, who had been with the organization since 1988, confirmed that they are not being brought back.
Both met with Twins General Manager Terry Ryan at Target Field Thursday morning. Both were told that changes had to be made after two last-place finishes in the AL Central.
"It still hasn't sunk in," Stelmaszek said this morning.
"I understand that this is the nature of the game," Liddle said shortly before 1 p.m.
Indications in recent weeks have been that Ryan was going to shake up the coaching staff. More could be coming today, as Ryan is scheduled to meet individually with each member of the coaching staff.
Pitching coach Rick Anderson was scheduled to meet with Ryan around noon. Bench coach Scott Ullger was to meet with Ryan at 1 p.m. and Jerry White was expected to meet with Ryan at 2 p.m.
Class AAA Rochester manager Gene Glynn and Rochester hitting coach Tom Brunansky could be in line for promotions. So could Rochester pitching coach Bobby Cuellar.
Stelmaszek said he called his wife, Kathie, to inform her of Ryan's decision and then began packing for his afternoon flight to his home in Chicago. Stelmaszek was one of the masterminds behind the "Good Morning America" drills that are a staple of spring training. His humor and biting commentary in the clubhouse helped kept things loose.
He joined the Twins' organization in 1978 as manager of the Class A Wisconsin Rapids farm club. Among his early pupils at Wisconsin Rapids were future Twins stars Kent Hrbek and Gary Gaetti.
"The years flew by," Stelmaszek said. "We had good ones and we had mediocre ones and we had bad ones. The one thing I can say is that we tried to play the game the right way and have some fun with it. That is what I'm going to miss on the field and in the clubhouse."
"I'm going to miss everybody," Liddle said, "but it's just another chapter in my life."
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