Twins part ways with three coaches, plus head athletic trainer
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The Minnesota Twins didn't waste much time after the season ended to begin making the changes that have been in the works for some time.
The team announced Thursday they will not renew the contracts of third base coach Steve Liddle, first base coach Jerry White, bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek and head athletic trainer Rick McWane.
In addition, bench coach Scott Ullger and hitting coach Joe Vavra were both reassigned. Ullger will oversee outfield instruction while Vavra oversees infield instruction.
Pitching coach Rick Anderson was the only coach who wasn't dismissed or reassigned.
Thursday's moves are significant. Since Ron Gardenhire took over as manager in 2002, the team has made only one change to its coaching staff, swapping Al Newman for Vavra prior to the 2006 campaign.
Stelmaszek joined the organization in 1978. Liddle has been with the team since Gardenhire took over in 2002 and had been considering retirement. Vavra replaced Al Newman on the staff prior to the 2006 season.
McWane has been with the Twins for 24 years and took over as head athletic trainer in 2006. But over the past two seasons, the Twins have suffered through waves of injuries. Most notably is how many games Twins pitchers have missed due to arm, back and oblique injuries over the past few seasons.
Each of the Twins' coaches and trainers had contracts that expired after the 2012 season, and recent signs pointed to changes. Professional relationships between Twins players and coaches had grown stale over the last two seasons, and the Pohlad family felt it couldn't oversee back-to-back 95-plus loss seasons without more changes.
Gardenhire is still held in high regard by Twins higher-ups and by his peers around the league. Gardenhire's current contract runs through 2013.
It's likely the entire Triple-A staff -- Tom Brunansky, Bobby Cuellar and manager Gene Glynn -- will receive consideration to fill the Twins' empty coaching slots.
Paul Molitor said Thursday he would be interested in interviewing for any potential openings as well.