Sid Hartman: Steinbach says young Twins require time to grow

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 21, 2013 - 11:25 PM

The first-year coach, who spent the weekend filling in for manager Ron Gardenhire, sees promise on the roster.

hide

Joe Mauer and Terry Steinbach shared a laugh during spring training in 2012.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Terry Steinbach has been serving as the Twins bench coach all year, but the former All-Star catcher’s role was elevated this past weekend while manager Ron Gardenhire fell ill.

It was quite a role shift for Steinbach, who was helping out as an assistant coach at Wayzata High School before rejoining the Twins last fall.

“It’s a lot of fun getting back into the game,” Steinbach said. “It’s interesting for me to see the game from the other side, meaning coaches and how Gardy runs it. … I’ve seen it for many years as a player, and you understood it one way. But as a coach, you see it a completely different way. I have a much greater appreciation for the amount of work coaches do to get the players prepared for every series.”

Steinbach, the former Gophers standout from New Ulm, Minn., who played his final three major league seasons with the Twins, said he doesn’t know if he would like to become a manager some day, adding that for the present he is going to take it one day at a time here.

“Getting back into the game is fun, and right now I have no aspirations of taking Gardy’s job at all,” he said. “It’s fun just to be out here, and he’s a tremendous guy to work under and learn under. We’ll just see how things go.”

Steinbach was brought in as part of a Twins coaching shake-up after last season, along with hitting coach Tom Brunansky and bullpen coach Bobby Cuellar. Steve Liddle, Rick Stelmaszek and Jerry White were fired, and Scott Ullger and Joe Vavra were reassigned.

Asked if he is surprised the Twins’ record isn’t better, Steinbach said: “I think the biggest thing you can say to that is that we have a very young club. … And with a young club, you have to battle the consistency issue. We can play with anybody at times and look really, really good, and everything’s working. Our pitching, our hitting, our defense, our situational hitting is all clicking. And then you turn the light switch off, and the next thing you know, we drop 10 games in a row.

“I think that’s something we’re very aware of, and we’re working with our younger players to try to become more consistent, and try to keep those losing streaks to a minimum, try to keep those as short as we can. Really, it’s just getting those young kids experience out there. The more they play, the more that they experience what this game of baseball is all about, the more consistent they’re going to become.”

High on Hicks

Steinbach has faith that many of the Twins players will develop in time. He pointed to rookie center fielder Aaron Hicks as an example.

“I think his future is extremely bright,” Steinbach said. “We all know what he’s doing right now defensively. He’s making plays look so easy. We have to remind ourselves as coaches that, in the course of a game, there are probably two or three balls, maybe even four baseballs that are hit a game that a lot of center fielders wouldn’t even get to, and he’s getting to those balls and making those catches look very easy.”

However, the switch hitter’s average is back down to .191 after briefly breaking the .200 mark.

“He’s getting a little better offensively, from his bunting game, to his situational hitting, getting guys over, getting guys in, and as well his average, I think there’s plenty of room for improvement,” Steinbach said. “But the thing we’re seeing with him, it’s kind of a slow process, but he’s working extremely hard with Bruno on his swing, and I believe the quality of his at-bats has improved from Day 1 to now. They’re definitely not where we want them to be yet, but he’s making progress.”

The Twins simply need many of their players to put in more time in the majors, Steinbach said.

“The guys have to get experience. They have to become more consistent,” he said. “We have to get away from winning four, losing five. Winning eight out of 10 and then dropping 12 straight. If we can correct some of that, it really changes our overall record pretty dramatically.”

Will make trade

Twin General Manager Terry Ryan was quoted this past week as saying he would be surprised if he didn’t make a trade before the July 31 deadline.

The word in baseball circles is that Pittsburgh is one of the clubs really interested in trading for Justin Morneau, who would replace former Twins teammate Garrett Jones at first base.

You hate to see Morneau go, but there is little doubt if Ryan can get some good prospects, it makes sense to trade Morneau, because he will be a free agent after the season. At that time the Twins will have as good a chance to re-sign him as any other team.

I believe there is less chance they would trade closer Glen Perkins, who is signed to a multiyear contract. There would be no chance of getting him back any time soon.

Jottings

• It was a real tribute to Gophers football when coach Jerry Kill was selected to speak at an annual recent Alabama high school football clinic. The word is that he wowed the coaches. And speaking of Alabama, the Gophers are recruiting there,and this spring had a visitor in New Market, Ala., safety Khari Blaisingame, who is giving the maroon and gold serious consideration.

• Representing the Gophers at this week’s Big Ten football preseason media gathering in Chicago will be Donnell Kirkwood, Ra’Shede Hageman and Brock Vereen.

• Among the 100-plus players invited to the Gophers football Friday night camp at TCF Bank Stadium was one J.R. Reed, son of former Vikings receiver Jake Reed from Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas. Jake, who said his son is considering Minnesota, has a friend on the Gophers coaching staff in running backs coach Brian Anderson.

• Gophers coaches had a cookout Sunday for several of the top players they are recruiting. They included Jashon Cornell, a defensive player from Cretin-Derham Hall who ESPN ranks the best player in the country in the class of 2015, and defensive lineman Frank Ragnow of Chanhassen. Also on hand were outstanding players who have committed, including Minneapolis Washburn running back Jeff Jones, defensive lineman Steven Richardson of Mount Carmel High School in Chicago, Owatonna defensive end Andrew Stelter and center Connor Mayes of Van Alstyne, Texas.

• The Minnesota high school basketball “Big Three” of Tyus Jones, Reid Travis and Rashad Vaughn started together in the Nike Global Challenge over the weekend in Washington, D.C., going 3-1 in four games with USA Midwest. Travis averaged 22 points per game, Vaughn 19.8 and Jones 11.5 points and 7.0 assists.

 

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Milwaukee 115 FINAL
Orlando 100
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 103
Denver 69 FINAL
Memphis 99
Chicago 118 FINAL
LA Lakers 123
Montreal 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 0
Winnipeg 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Boston 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Arizona 3 FINAL
Toronto 1
Dallas 6 FINAL
Ottawa 3
Detroit 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 5
Columbus 2 FINAL
Florida 3
Nashville 4 FINAL(SO)
St. Louis 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Calgary 0
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Anaheim 3 FINAL
San Jose 6
DePaul 72 FINAL
Providence 83
Michigan State 71 FINAL
Rutgers 51
Boston Univ 67 FINAL
Army 71
Fla Atlantic 61 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Youngstown St 87 FINAL
Detroit 93
East Tenn St 55 FINAL
Furman 59
Saint Louis 60 FINAL
George Mason 68
USC Upstate 78 FINAL
Jacksonville 65
High Point 72 FINAL
Liberty 53
Central Conn St 55 FINAL
Long Island 67
Western Ky 56 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 69
Dayton 64 FINAL
Massachusetts 66
Chattanooga 72 FINAL
Mercer 75
Wofford 58 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 42
Maryland 56 FINAL
Ohio State 80
FIU 56 FINAL
Old Dominion 71
Fair-Dickinson 65 FINAL
Robert Morris 87
Mount St Marys 67 FINAL
St Francis-NY 73
Bryant 68 FINAL
St Francis-PA 75
Northern Ky 75 FINAL
Stetson 85
Coll of Charleston 70 FINAL
Towson 74
Western Carolina 85 FINAL
Va Military 70
Sacred Heart 64 FINAL
Wagner 75
Lipscomb 62 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 78
Kennesaw St 67 FINAL
North Florida 86
Appalachian St 46 FINAL
Ga Southern 83
Holy Cross 54 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 64
Eastern Ill 51 FINAL
UT Martin 81
Jacksonville St 82 FINAL
Belmont 103
Connecticut 58 FINAL
Cincinnati 70
Rider 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 49
SIU Edwardsville 75 FINAL
SE Missouri St 61
Marshall 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 54
Tenn Tech 56 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Middle Tennessee 58 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
Ill-Chicago 65 FINAL
Milwaukee 71
Weber State 67 FINAL
North Dakota 60
Denver 54 FINAL
North Dakota St 61
IUPU-Ft Wayne 66 FINAL
South Dakota 55
Louisiana 85 FINAL
South Alabama 89
Ark-Little Rock 75 FINAL
Arkansas State 65
Georgia State 88 FINAL
Texas-Arlington 74
ULM 58 FINAL
Troy 55
Portland 46 FINAL
Gonzaga 64
Kentucky 69 FINAL
Missouri 53
Eastern Ky 78 FINAL
Murray State 85
UAB 69 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 71
Idaho State 76 FINAL
Northern Colorado 79
UMKC 57 FINAL
Grand Canyon 78
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Utah Valley U 78
Colorado 98 FINAL
USC 94
Cal Poly 57 FINAL
UC Irvine 67
Hawaii 84 FINAL
CS-Northridge 73
Pepperdine 50 FINAL
Pacific 43
Santa Clara 64 FINAL
San Diego 69
Utah 59 FINAL
UCLA 69
UC Santa Barbara 64 FINAL
UC Davis 70
Montana 73 FINAL
Portland State 54
Montana State 59 FINAL
Sacramento St 75
Long Beach State 91 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 85
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
St Marys-CA 68
San Francisco 74 FINAL
BYU 78
California 76 FINAL
Washington St 67
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 51 FINAL
Saint Louis 52
Appalachian St 77 FINAL
Georgia Southern 74
Niagara 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 65
Old Dominion 80 FINAL
FIU 67
Southern Miss 65 FINAL
Marshall 67
Georgia State 45 FINAL
TX-Arlington 57
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
ULM 51 FINAL
Troy 90
Pittsburgh 45 FINAL
(17) Duke 62
(6) Tennessee 73 FINAL
(10) Kentucky 72
(24) Oklahoma 81 FINAL
(14) Texas 84
Nebraska Omaha 59 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 70
UC-Riverside 68 FINAL
CS-Northridge 56
Army 65 FINAL
Boston U 40
New Orleans 40 FINAL
Nicholls 56
Charlotte 68 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 71
Towson 54 FINAL
Delaware 72
Hofstra 66 FINAL
Northeastern 45
New Hampshire 56 FINAL
Maine 87
Albany 89 FINAL
Vermont 48
Hartford 60 FINAL
Stony Brook 58
UNC-Wilmington 62 FINAL
William & Mary 67
Clemson 62 FINAL
Wake Forest 64
Alabama 54 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 85
(23) Syracuse 58 FINAL
(8) Louisville 78
Missouri 68 FINAL
Florida 52
Iona 66 FINAL
Fairfield 77
Manhattan 38 FINAL
Marist 77
NC State 63 FINAL
Virginia 71
(4) Notre Dame 74 FINAL
Virginia Tech 50
(22) Rutgers 58 FINAL
Purdue 49
(5) Maryland 91 FINAL
Michigan 65
Milwaukee 58 FINAL
Cleveland State 67
Wright State 108 FINAL
Oakland 89
Jacksonville 64 FINAL
USC Upstate 66
North Florida 40 FINAL
Kennesaw St 46
Stetson 62 FINAL
Northern Ky 68
Loyola-Maryland 57 FINAL
Holy Cross 51
Lamar 87 FINAL
Sam Houston St 68
Fla Gulf Coast 71 FINAL
Lipscomb 49
Vanderbilt 44 FINAL
(18) Miss State 69
IUPUI 62 FINAL
Western Ill 73
Abilene Christian 53 FINAL
Houston Baptist 50
Incarnate Word 54 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 63
McNeese State 78 FINAL
SE Louisiana 57
Oral Roberts 46 FINAL
South Dakota St 71
Louisiana Tech 66 FINAL
Western Ky 82
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 73
Texas-El Paso 52 FINAL
UAB 67
Auburn 47 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Grand Canyon 65 FINAL
UMKC 59
Illinois 57 FINAL
(15) Nebraska 59
(20) Iowa 102 FINAL
Northwestern 99
Utah Valley U 55 FINAL
Chicago State 60
Green Bay 67 FINAL
Valparaiso 52
Ole Miss 41 FINAL
LSU 70
Portland State 31 FINAL
Montana 72
Sacramento St 64 FINAL
Montana State 91
North Dakota 55 FINAL
Weber State 48
Ohio State 85 FINAL
Wisconsin 73
Northern Colorado 61 FINAL
Idaho State 70
BYU 68 FINAL
San Francisco 63
St Marys-CA 56 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 49
Pacific 63 FINAL
Pepperdine 59
Cal-Irvine 61 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 58
San Diego 64 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
UC Davis 64 FINAL
Cal Poly 72
Long Beach St 64 FINAL
Hawaii 72
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close