Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Molitor, Ramirez and minor surgeries

Paul Molitor at his Hall of Fame
induction in 2004.
Paul Molitor, the Twins announced Tuesday, will be their seventh coach, with a set of responsibilities described as bunting, baserunning, defensive positioning and in-game advice.

Not exactly earth-shaking news, but there's certainly room for reaction:

  • Nothing against Molitor, who clearly knows those areas of the game as thoroughly as anybody, but this does still leave the Minnesota coaching staff very white and Anglo. The wave of position player talent coming is heavily Latin and dark-skinned. I still think it would be better if the coaching staff were more diverse.
  • Both Molitor and Terry Ryan said bringing Molitor on board was initiated by Ron Gardenhire. When Ryan reshuffled the coaching staff a year ago, the general manager said there was "no fit" for Molitor, who was — and remains — popularly seen as the likely successor to Gardenhire's job should Ryan opt to change managers. Presumably the difference in "fit" some 12 months later is connected to the two-year extension the manager received after the season ended. Molitor's presence is not an immediate threat to Gardenhire's employment.
  • I don't know what kind of label we'll attach to Molitor's duties. For four of the other coaches, the label refers to where they are during games (first-base coach, third-base coach, bench coach, bullpen coach); for the other two, the label encompasses a broad responsibility (pitching coach, hitting coach). Molitor is to be in the dugout, with Scott Ullger and Joe Vavra still on the bases. I'll go with baserunning coach for now.
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Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez was activated from the 60-day disabled list and then outrighted to Triple-A Rochester. He'll presumably exercise his right to declare free agency and see if anybody else wants him.

The Twins 40-man roster remains officially at 36, with Sam Deduno remaining on the 60-day DL as an unofficial 37th. Plenty of pruning awaits.

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Closer Glen Perkins and outfielder Darin Mastroianni each had surgeries since season's end.

Perkins' knee issue was not public knowledge last season, and he certainly had a fine season despite it. Mastroianni's season, on the other hand, was essentially ruined by his ankle problem.

Both men are supposed to be good to go for spring training. Inasmuch as Perkins was quite effective with a troublesome meniscus, I've no concerns about him. Mastroianni, on the other hand, needs his speed. He was not the baserunner last September that he was in 2012.

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