Ron Gardenhire is back in the dugout.
The 59-year-old Oklahoman, whose 1,068 wins in 13 seasons as Twins manager are second most in franchise history, has been hired as the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, a major-league source confirmed Thursday. Gardenhire, who last year served as a special assistant to the Twins’ front office, will be introduced at a press conference later today.
The Diamondbacks, who earlier this month hired Torey Lovullo to be their new manager next season, visit Target Field next Aug. 18-20.
Gardenhire led the Twins to Central Division titles in each of his first three seasons as manager, and won six Central crowns in his first nine seasons, never falling farther than third place in the division. He was named AL Manager of the Year in 2010 after the last of his division championships, but the Twins never had another winning record under the former Mets infielder.
Gardenhire, 1,068-1,039 in 13 seasons, was fired in 2014 after a 70-92 final season, and was replaced by Paul Molitor. Coincidentally, Molitor was chosen over another finalist for the Twins' job -- Lovullo, who interviewed twice with Twins officials.
Gardenhire, whose victory total is second only to his mentor, Tom Kelly's 1,140, returned to the Twins last April, hired by former general manager Terry Ryan to visit each of the organization’s minor-league teams to coach and evaluate the team’s prospects.