Ron Gardenhire is returning to the Twins as a special assistant to General Manager Terry Ryan.
The longtime coach and manager will be a roving minor league instructor, special assignment scout and carry out special assignments for Ryan.

The role is similar to the one Tom Kelly performed after he stepped down as manager following the 2001 season. Gardenhire, 58, was let go by the club following the 2014 season after a fourth straight season of 90-plus losses. He took a year off then was known to have interviewed for vacancies in San Diego and Washington, but didn't land either one.

Gardenhire coached under Tom Kelly before taking over as manager prior to the 2002 season, he promptly took the Twins the ALCS that year,  losing to eventual World Series champion Anaheim. In 13 seasons, Gardenhire was 1068-1039, won six division titles and was named AL Manager of the Year in 2010.

But he failed to win more than 70 games in each of the next four seasons and was replaced by Paul Molitor for the 2015 season.

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