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Continued: Decision looms on keeping or firing Twins' manager Gardenhire

He will still yell, like he did during a game in Boston this season when rookie Aaron Hicks casually flipped a ball after catching it. Gardenhire let Hicks have it after the inning was over. But because he’s had to manage so many inexperienced players over the past couple years, he has become more of a teacher than a screamer.

“He’s made a better effort to get more out of those guys,” Perkins said. “I think you’ve seen that with guys like [second baseman] Brian Dozier, the improvement he’s made as the season has gone on. And the guys in the bullpen, putting them in positions where they can be successful.”

For years, Gardenhire led active managers in ejections, but now runs second to Detroit’s Jim Leyland. He admits he’s less confrontational with umpires than he used to be, partially because he’s developed relationships with many of them and better understands their challenges.

But when strategy calls for it, Gardenhire is still willing to get tossed. Some Twins players have picked up the tab for Gardenhire’s fines, after their manager got thrown out to protect them and keep them in the game.

“Get the umpire mad at me so the player can get out of there,” Gardenhire said. “But I have calmed down quite a bit.”

‘Part of baseball life’

As soon as Ryan announced after last season that Gardenhire’s contract wouldn’t be addressed until this offseason, it appeared a challenge had been delivered: Show improvement, or be shown the door.

When the Twins failed to make a splashy move during the offseason, it looked as if Gardenhire would have a tough time leading the club to tangible improvement in the standings. The Twins headed to camp with no clear No. 1 starter in the rotation and a daily lineup sprinkled with inexperience.

“It is part of the baseball life,” Gardenhire said of his situation. “I’ll just wait and see at the end of the season. We’ll see what happens and we will go from there.”

Gardenhire won’t be judged on his record alone, Ryan said. The progress made by young players such as Dozier and rookie relievers Ryan Pressly and Caleb Thielbar could influence the decision. A wave of young talent, led by elite prospect Miguel Sano, should start to reach the majors next season. The Twins’ 2014 manager will need to prove that he can develop up-and-coming players, as Gardenhire did during his early years with the Twins.

But the past three disastrous seasons have put Gardenhire in a perilous position.

“What have we done [lately], that’s a natural thought in baseball,” Ryan said of a possible managerial change. “We have struggled. I’m the one who has given him the players. … We’ve got to have the talent for any manager or coach to succeed. But we know where we are and we have a pretty good idea of where we are going. I’m not trying to pretend that he’s got the most talented roster we have ever seen.”

Said Perkins: “He didn’t change how he manages, that’s not what has contributed to us losing here. Or changing his style or that he’s out of touch. It’s not that. [The solution is] better players. It’s more talent.”

Gardenhire says he knows he doesn’t want to manage into his late 60s, because he wants to spend time with his grandchildren. But he definitely wants to return and turn the Twins into a winner again before he departs. He said he has no health issues that would cause him to step away on his own.

“I like what I’m doing,” Gardenhire said. “I’m not ready to retire now.”

And his office still has space for more mementos, starting with that lineup card for victory No. 1,000.
































 

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Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
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