Indications are TK will stay put

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 22, 2007 - 10:55 PM

MIAMI - When Joe Girardi turned down the Baltimore Orioles' managing job Thursday, speculation mounted that the Orioles' new team president, Andy MacPhail, would soon talk to former Twins manager Tom Kelly.

But as of Friday afternoon, the Orioles hadn't asked the Twins for permission to speak to Kelly, and most indications were that Kelly is content as a special assistant to Twins General Manager Terry Ryan.

"Baltimore has not called," Ryan said. "And historically, when Tom has been pursued for manager openings, he's said he's comfortable where he's at."

Kelly, 56, guided the Twins to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991. He retired from managing after the 2001 season with a career record of 1,140-1,244.

MacPhail, who was the Twins GM from 1985 to 1994 before moving to the Chicago Cubs, was asked about Kelly in his introductory news conference with the Orioles on Wednesday.

"I talk to TK periodically, and TK has given me every indication over the years that he is not managing anymore," MacPhail said. "I would love to have him; he's a great manager."

The Orioles, who last had a winning season in 1997, are trying to replace Sam Perlozzo. He was fired shortly before MacPhail's hiring was announced.

Kelly could not be reached for comment. He was watching the Twins' Class AA New Britain team this week.

"I've talked to TK, and he's pretty happy with what he's doing right now," said Ron Gardenhire, who replaced Kelly for the 2002 season. "He likes working with our minor league kids. He likes coming to spring training with us. He likes that the pressure's off him, as far as beating your head against the wall, trying to figure out how to make things better.

"Whether he wants to get back in the managing business -- I'm sure if he did, more than just the Orioles would come knocking."

Mauer set at No. 2

Entering Friday, the Twins were 6-7 since moving Joe Mauer to the No. 2 spot in the batting order.

Mauer was batting .220 (11-for-50) but has showed signs of coming out of his mini-slump.

"I like [the lineup] how it is right now," Gardenhire said. "When we get back to American League baseball [on Monday], who knows? We'll probably leave it for a little while, and we'll see. If we get somebody else who can do a better job in the 2-hole, we'd do it. Right now he's the guy."

Willis to miss Twins

The Twins were scheduled to face lefthander Dontrelle Willis on Sunday, but his start was pushed to Tuesday because of forearm tightness.

Willis, a two-time All-Star who is 7-6 with a 4.90 ERA, never has faced the Twins.

"I'm disappointed I won't get to see him pitch, and I hope he's OK," Gardenhire said. "But I'm not disappointed because I don't mind not having to face him."

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