Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


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Twins need a coach from Latin America, pronto

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: July 27, 2013 - 6:58 PM

Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia was pulled from a game at Class AAA Rochester on Tuesday night after what Rochester manager Gene Glynn perceived as a lack of interest in what was taking place on the field. Later, Glynn made a joking reference to Arcia having "blurry vision,'' and this started to appear in the social media as the reason Arcia left the game.

Nope. He was hooked for discipliniary reasons.

On the same night, third baseman Miguel Sano went over the top in showboating a home run that he hit off former teammate Bobby Lanigan. Sano stood at the plate for a few seconds, walked out of the box, flipping the bat, and then slow-strutted around the bases ... all of this for a home run that still left his Class AA New Britain team trailing in the eighth inning.

New Britain manager Jeff Smith kept Sano out of the lineup on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. He still was not in the lineup on Saturday. General Manager Terry Ryan told Phil Mackey on Saturday morning, on the Talkin' Twins radio show, that it remains in Smith's hands as to when Sano returns to the lineup.

This punishment from Smith is not based on the mere act of "pimping'' a home run, which is something Sano does to a degree most every time he blasts one. This is what I heard:

Sano was promoted from Class A Fort Myers to New Britain on June 9 and joined the lineup on June 12. Lanigan was released from New Britain on June 25. During that two-week period, Sano and Lanigan had a loud confrontation as the Rock Cats were on a road trip.

The identity of the pitcher had much to do with the extra juice Sano put into Tuesday's home run reaction. When confronted over this by Smith, notorious in the Twins' system as a hard-nosed manager, Sano basically told Smith that he would do what he chose after hitting home runs.

Ryan also had another team employee talk to Sano. Apparently, Sano's response was not satisfactory to the Twins. So, the No. 3 overall prospect in the minor leagues sits at Jeff Smith's discretion.

Sano's pal is second baseman Eddie Rosario, now at New Britain. Rosario was benched earlier this season as a discipliniary measure by Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz.

Arcia is 22 from Venezuela. Rosario is 21 from Puerto Rico. Sano is 20 from the Dominican Republic.

Arcia will be back in right field for the Twins before the death march to the completion of the 2013 schedule is over. More importantly, he will be there when the 2014 season starts -- and hitting in the middle of the Twins' lineup.

Earlier this season, Mientkiewicz predicted that Rosario will be the opening day second baseman for the Twins in 2014.

And Sano ... well, if this team is more concerned about creating excitement than guarding against service time, there's a chance he will open as the third baseman in 2014.

It's not out of the question that the Opening Day batting order could start like this: 1-Aaron Hicks. 2-Rosario. 3-Joe Mauer. 4-Sano. 5-Arcia.

Which means, this team is in greater need for a coach with a Latin American background on its big-league staff than ever before.

When Ron Gardenhire's coaching staff was shaken up on orders from GM Terry Ryan this winter, the "Spanish speaker'' added to the staff was Bobby Cuellar. He spends his time in the bullpen and is a 60-year-old who was born in Texas.

Cuellar received good reviews during his two terms as pitching coach at Rochester. But being a pitching expert and running a bullpen are different areas than being charged with relating to young position players during the grind of a 162-game season.

And being a 60-year-old Spanish speaker from Texas is very different than being a 35-, 40-year-old former big-leaguer from the Dominican, or Venezuela, or Puerto Rico.

Whether Ron Gardenhire stays or goes after this season, Arcia, Sano and Rosario are three of the four most-important position players (with Byron Buxton) to the Twins' chance to rebuild from this woeful mess. And what they are going to need on the coaching staff is this:

A younger coach from "Latin America'' to relate to these players on a daily basis.

The Twins have three white coaches from the U.S. at Rochester. They have three white coaches from the U.S. at New Britain. Mientkiewecz has a pitching coach in Ivan Arteaga from Venezuela at Fort Myers.

As players from the Dominican and Venezuela (and to some degree Puerto Rico) continue to take over the game, the Twins would be wise to have a coach from there on every minor-league staff -- and for sure, a younger coach with that background and the ability to influence in the big-league clubhouse in 2014.

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