The hits keep on coming for Nelson Cruz, who won two Diamond Awards for the second consecutive season.
The Twins, in conjunction with the Twin Cities Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America, announced the winners of the annual Diamond Awards on Friday morning. Cruz was named Most Valuable Player after hitting .303 with 16 home runs and 33 RBI. He also was named the winner of the Bob Allison Leadership Award. Cruz becomes the fifth Twins player to win this award at least twice.
Kenta Maeda won the Joseph W. Haynes Award for being the Twins pitcher of the year. Maeda went 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA while leading the American League with a 0.75 WHIP.
Randy Dobnak won the Bill Boni Award given to the Twins outstanding rookie. Dobnak went 6-4 with a 4.05 ERA and was particularly strong during the first month of the season.
Byron Buxton also won two awards. The center fielder was named Jim Kaat Defensive Player of the Year after committing no errors in 105 chances and leading the all outfielders with 11 defensive runs saved. He also won the Carl R. Pohlad Community Service Award for his work with military service members and their families.
Matt Wisler was named the Charles O. Johnson Most Improved Twin after the righthander posted a 1.07 ERA in his first season with the club after being claimed off waivers from Seattle.
Lefthander Taylor Rogers won the Mike Augustin Media Good Guy Award. He served his first season as the player’s union representative on the club, leading to several meetings with the media, mostly to discuss how the club was dealing with the pandemic.
Cleveland lefthander Brad Hand of Chaska won the Dick Siebert Upper Midwest Player of the Year Award after going 2-1 with 2.05 ERA while leading the AL with 16 saves.
Former reliever LaTroy Hawkins won the Kirby Puckett Award for Twins Alumni Community Service. Hawkins has pushed forward the conversation on racial and social injustice in the United States.
The 16th annual Diamond Awards will take place on Dec. 9 and be televised on Fox Sports North. The event also will be available online. Proceeds from the event will help neurological research at the University of Minnesota.
Bell interviewed by Red Sox
One year after watching other teams pluck three members from Rocco Baldelli’s staff by offering them promotions, it’s possible another Twins coach could be moving on.
Bench coach Mike Bell — hired last winter after predecessor Derek Shelton left to become manager of the Pirates — has interviewed via video call for the vacant Red Sox managerial job, multiple sources confirmed Friday. Boston is seeking a replacement for Ron Roenicke, who was let go after just one season in charge. Roenicke, appointed to replace Alex Cora after he was implicated in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, guided Boston to a 24-36 record, last in the AL East.
Bell, brother of Reds manager David Bell and son of former Tigers, Rockies and Royals manager Buddy Bell, came to the Twins after a decade in the Diamondbacks front office. He had experience as a minor league manager from 2007 to ’09 and interviewed for other managerial jobs last winter.
In addition to Bell, the Red Sox have interviewed former Twins hitting coach James Rowson, multiple sources confirmed. Rowson, who joined Paul Molitor’s staff as hitting coach in 2017 and stayed in that role under Baldelli in 2019, spent the 2020 season as Marlins bench coach under manager Don Mattingly.
The Red Sox have also interviewed Padres associate manager Skip Schumaker, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, and Diamondbacks bench coach Luis Urueta, according to ESPN.
In addition to Rowson and Shelton, the Twins also lost associate pitching coach Jeremy Hefner to the Mets last winter.
New grass put off
The Twins had planned to use the NHL’s Winter Classic in their home ballpark as an opportunity to completely resod Target Field for the first time next spring, but with the postponement of the Jan. 1 Wild-Blues outdoor game for at least one year, the new grass will wait, too.
With the exception of a few patches to repair the turf, mostly after concerts, Target Field’s grass has not been replaced since the ballpark opened in 2010. It’s common practice to occasionally resod MLB fields, which also allows grounds crews to perform maintenance on heating and drainage systems underneath. But with the likelihood of installing a temporary NHL rink over the grass next winter, the Twins have chosen to postpone that work until after the rink is removed.