The Minnesota Twins fired first-base coach Jerry White, third-base coach Steve Liddle and bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek on Thursday. Hitting coach Joe Vavra and bench coach Scott Ullger were removed from their jobs but will be reassigned within the organization, likely with the big-league club.
The Twins hadn’t changed a coach since they let Al Newman go after the 2005 season. Ullger moved to third base to replace Newman, and Vavra was hired as hitting coach. Since then, the Twins have won three division titles, three batting titles (Joe Mauer) and two American League MVP Awards (Mauer and Justin Morneau). This season, the Twins finished 11th among 30 teams in batting average (.260), 10th in on-base percentage (.325) and 16th in runs scored (4.3).
The Twins led the majors in hitting in 2006 (.287) and ranked third in 2009 (.274) and 2010 (.273).
Morneau credited Vavra with helping him turn the corner on his career. In Vavra’s first season as batting coach, Morneau hit .321 with 34 homers and 130 runs batted in to lead the Twins to a Central Division title and win the AL MVP Award.
Mauer won the first of three AL batting titles in 2006 with a .347 average. He also won batting titles in 2008 (.328) and 2009, when he set the major league record for batting average by a catcher (.365).
Posted by Deb Smith