Twins manager Ron Gardenhire prepares for post-purge recovery

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 9, 2012 - 7:28 AM

After the Twins fired or reassigned most of his staff following two lousy seasons, Ron Gardenhire is preparing for the challenge ahead.


Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and General Manager Terry Ryan are planning to meet next week in Florida to discuss the team’s coaching openings.

Photo: John Sleezer, Kansas City Star

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The first week of the offseason has been tumultuous both personally and professionally for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.

The team fired three members of his coaching staff and reassigned two others last Thursday. Gardenhire's mother, Jo, also had a health scare.

"My mom was taken to the hospital by ambulance here in [Oklahoma], so I have been a bit preoccupied," Gardenhire said in an e-mail Monday. "She is home now after a few anxious moments."

Gardenhire has been tending to his mother while saying goodbye to some close friends. The Twins fired longtime bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, first base coach Jerry White and third base coach Steve Liddle, three coaches who had been a part of his staff since he replaced Tom Kelly as manager for the 2002 season. The three had a combined 60 seasons of experience on the Twins coaching staff.

The Twins also announced they will reassign hitting coach Joe Vavra and bench coach Scott Ullger. The only member of the six-man coaching staff whose job went unchanged is pitching coach Rick Anderson.

"Been a real tough few days," said Gardenhire, who hadn't spoken to reporters about the firings prior to Monday. "The baseball team will be fine. My job is to move forward and help find answers to make this team better."

Before this purge, the Twins had changed only one member of Gardenhire's coaching staff since 2002. Third base coach Al Newman left after the 2005 season, with Ullger becoming the third base coach and Vavra coming aboard as the hitting coach. Ullger and Liddle swapped roles last year.

The Twins won six division titles in Gardenhire's first nine seasons but went 63-99 and 66-96 the past two years.

"I know our fans expect better," Gardenhire said. "We have to do whatever is necessary to turn this around now. My coaches all knew this was a possibility as this season winded down. That being said, it didn't make it any easier."

Gardenhire, who turns 55 on Oct. 24, has one more year remaining on the two-year contract extension he signed after being named American League Manager of the Year in 2010.

General Manager Terry Ryan plans to meet with Gardenhire in Fort Myers, Fla., later this week to discuss the team's coaching openings, but the timing of that meeting will hinge on the health of Gardenhire's mother.

It's unclear what roles Ullger and Vavra will have moving forward, but Ullger's duties will include outfield instruction and Vavra's will include infield instruction.

The Twins could promote all three members of this year's Class AAA Rochester field staff to the majors, with manager Gene Glynn becoming the new third base coach, Tom Brunansky becoming the hitting coach and Bobby Cuellar becoming the bullpen coach.

Rochester finished 72-72 this season after going a combined 102-186 the previous two years. The Red Wings did this despite promoting numerous players to the majors, including an entire starting pitching rotation.

Gardenhire didn't say who the new hires would be but said, "I will welcome the new coaches and will hold them to the same high standards that this organization expects from us."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Atlanta 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Miami 5 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Nathan 6
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Cincinnati 13 FINAL
Cleveland 2
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
Chicago WSox 6
Kansas City 3 FINAL
Seattle 0
Seattle 1 FINAL
Milwaukee 15
San Diego 3 FINAL
Arizona 3
Washington 3
LA Angels 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 4
Colorado 3 FINAL
Texas 6
Oakland 6 FINAL
San Francisco 4
Indiana 107 FINAL
Milwaukee 111
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Carolina 5
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Washington 3
Los Angeles 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Arizona 4 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 3
Anaheim 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 2
Nashville 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
NY Rangers 5 FINAL
Ottawa 1
Florida 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
Montreal 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Colorado 4 FINAL
Vancouver 1
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Notre Dame 81
North Carolina 72 FINAL
Wisconsin 79
Evansville 89 FINAL
Louisiana 82
West Virginia 39 FINAL
Kentucky 78
Xavier 60 FINAL
Arizona 68
St Johns 55 FINAL
Villanova 63
NC State 79 FINAL
Temple 80
Missouri 55 FINAL
Michigan 65
Oral Roberts 64 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Duquesne 39 FINAL
West Virginia 60
Ole Miss 70 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 82
Northern Colorado 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 77 FINAL
Sacramento St 69


question of the day

Poll: Will Major League Soccer be successful in Minnesota?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters