DETROIT -- The Twins have fired Class AAA Rochester manager Tom Nieto and hitting coach Floyd Rayford, Twins minor league director Jim Rantz confirmed today.

The news was first reported by Jim Mandelaro, of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

Nieto, who was a catcher on the Twins 1987 World Series championship team, guided the Red Wings to a 49-95 finish last year and a 53-91 finish this year. It was the first time the Rochester franchise has had back-to-back 90-loss seasons since 1903-1904.

Rayford was the hitting coach for both of those seasons as well.

“I wish them nothing but the best because they are good, solid baseball people,” Rantz said. “It wasn’t all their fault. There was a lot that happened with our Triple-A team with all the moves and injuries we had.”

Rantz said pitching coach Bobby Cuellar will be asked to return to Rochester.

Asked about any other pending changes to the rest of the Twins minor-league field staff, Rantz said he had only one to report now: Rookie-level Elizabethton pitching coach Jim Shellenback plans to retire.

Tonight's lineup, etc.

Joe Mauer will be at catcher for the first time since Aug. 20, and Tsuyoshi Nishioka will be at shortstop for the first time in a week, as the Twins open a three-game series in Detroit.

TWINS (59-84)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Trevor Plouffe, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Jason Kubel, DH
5. Danny Valencia, 3B
6. Chris Parelee, 1B
7. Joe Benson, RF
8. Rene Tononi, LF
9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS

Starting pitcher: RH Kevin Slowey (0-4, 5.31 ERA)

TIGERS (81-62)

1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Magglio Ordonez, RF
3. Delmon Young, LF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Alex Avila, C
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Wilson Betemit, 3B
9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

Starting pitcher: RH Brad Penny (9-10, 5.13 ERA)

Comerica Park. First pitch: 6:05 p.m. (Central). TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

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