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Updated: September 9th, 2011 1:33pm
Twins fire AAA manager, hitting coach; 'overall directional change'

Twins fire AAA manager, hitting coach; 'overall directional change'

by Phil Mackey
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The Minnesota Twins have begun shuffling the deck.

The team announced Friday that Triple-A manager Tom Nieto and hitting coach Floyd Rayford will not have their contracts renewed. Pitching coach Bobby Cuellar will remain on the staff.

"The Minnesota Twins organization would like to thank both Tom and Floyd for their contributions," Twins Director of Minor League Operations Jim Rantz said in a press release.

"These changes in Rochester are just part of an overall directional change that is being implemented throughout the minor league system this off-season."

The Rochester Red Wings suffered through back-to-back 90-loss seasons for the first time in franchise history, going back to the early part of the 1900's, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has expressed his frustration numerous times this season with some of the mental errors and baserunning mistakes made by young players.

Nieto was named Red Wings manager on Oct. 20, 2009, replacing Stan Cliburn. Prior to that, Nieto managed Double-A New Britain to a 72-69 record in 2009.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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In this story: Ron Gardenhire