La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

While Twins shake up front office, Gardy cleans out his elbow

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: November 8, 2011 - 7:32 PM


While the Twins were making over their front office on Monday, manager Ron Gardenhire was in surgery.

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Gardenhire had surgery on Monday to remove bone chips from his right elbow and now is in full recovery mode. He's expected to be ready for spring training batting practice.

 

``I hurt it scratching my head,'' he joked in an e-mail.
 

Hey, maybe that's another reason the Twins struggled last season. Gardy couldn't throw b.p. like he used to, and the hitters suffered because of it. Was there anyone NOT broken down on this team?

 

When asked to comment on the Terry Ryan replacing Bill Smith as general manager, Gardenhire declined. ``Not now,'' he wrote.

 

As far as I can remember, Gardy had a really good relationship with Ryan. I'm not trying to assert that Gardy had a bad relationship with Smith, but the one he had with Ryan - based on my observations and talks with people in the organization - was better.

 

Ryan, after all, was the one who hired Gardenhire before the 2002 season. Ryan interviewed current Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, current Orioles third base coach Willie Randolph and Lynn Jones, who was a Marlins coach at the time but is being replaced as Atlanta's minor league baserunning coach. Paul Molitor and Scott Ullger were interviewed as well.

 

Gardy was handed a team that was highly motivated after starting 50-31 in 2001 but blew it in the second half. They also had  to wait for contraction to get kicked to the curb. I'll never forget the season opener in Kansas City, when Denny Hocking told me before the game that Jacque Jones was going to lead off the season with a home run, and Jones went opposite field on the second pitch. Hocking looked up to the press box and struck the "told you so," pose.

 

It seems like a long time ago. Now Ryan is back to help clean up the mess of a 99-loss season. We'll see what Ryan can do to help Gardy out next year. Gardy's elbow, at leat, will be ready for action.

 

 

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