Bill Smith never really left the Twins, and now he's officially back as Assistant to the President and General Manager.

He spent four years as the GM before the Twins replaced him with Terry Ryan in November. The Twins immediately began discussing this new position with Smith and gave him some time to think about it.

Smith was seen at Target Field multiple times during the transition. He'll begin working under his new title on Jan. 1. Among his tasks:

* He'll continue to work with Lee County, fostering relationships he's been building since the Twins spring training facility opened in 1991. The Twins hope to do some major renovations on the facility for 2013.

* Assessing the team's player development in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, etc.

* Smith helped lead a seamless transition from the Metrodome to Target Field, and the Twins will have him lead their efforts on developing and maintaining their baseball-related facilities (Target Field, Hammond Stadium, etc.).

* Smith, a longtime member of baseball's minor-league advisory board, will work with Twins minor league director Jim Rantz on maintaining relationships with the team's affiliates.

"All of us with the ballclub are thrilled to have Bill Smith staying with the Twins family," team president Dave St. Peter said in the announcement. "His many contributions during a 25-plus year tenure with the Twins has directly resulted in much of the success this franchise has enjoyed on and off the field. To that end, we are excited to have this opportunity to have him on board with hopes of maximizing his many talents."

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