The Minnesota Twins finished overhauling their coaching staff by hiring two former players and a minor league teacher to assist manager Ron Gardenhire.
Former Twins player Tom Brunansky is the new hitting coach, Bobby Cuellar will be the bullpen coach and another former Twins player Terry Steinbach has been tabbed as the bench coach and catching instructor.
The Twins earlier let go three of Gardenhire’s long-time assistants; third base coach Steve Liddle, bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek and first base coach Jerry White.
Pitching coach Rick Anderson was the only one who kept the same role. Scott Ullger, most recently the bench coach, was reassigned to first base coach and outfielder instructor. Joe Vavra was moved from hitting coach to third base coach and infield instructor.
Brunansky, the right fielder on Minnesota’s 1987 World Series championship team who spent six-plus of his 14 major league seasons with the Twins, was the hitting coach for Triple-A Rochester this year.
Steinbach, a native of New Ulm, Minn., and former University of Minnesota standout played with the Twins for three of his 14 years in the majors before retiring after the 1999 season.
Cuellar was Rochester’s pitching coach for the last four years, his second stint in that role. He was New Britain’s manager in 2008 and the bullpen coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006 and 2007. Before that, he spent four seasons as the Twins’ Triple-A pitching coach. In 2002, he was credited with helping a young Johan Santana develop the trademark changeup he used to become a two-time AL Cy Young Award winner.
Posted by Deb Smith
Workers have started removing Fighting Sioux imagery outside the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks.
The removal of the sign reading ‘‘Home of the Fighting Sioux’’ was required under a 2007 agreement to settle a lawsuit between North Dakota and the NCAA.
Arena spokesman Chris Semrau tells The Grand Forks Herald that removing the sign will take most of the week. It will be replaced with a sign reading ‘‘Home of North Dakota Hockey’’ in November.
The sign is one of six ‘‘Home of the Fighting Sioux’’ signs that must be removed. An agreement between the state and the NCAA released the arena from having to remove most of the other Fighting Sioux logos and imagery.
Posted by Deb Smith
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).
Boise State has its blue football field, and at Eastern Washington University it’s red.
Now, at West Salem High School in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the old green turf has been replaced with a new color scheme: black.
The field has been nicknamed ‘‘The Black Hole.’’
The Salem Statesman Journal reports that workers finished installing the turf Thursday. West Salem hosts South Medford on Friday night.
An executive for FieldTurf says it’s the only black field the company has sold. Marketing Vice President Darren Gill says the company is promoting color fields, and other schools are considering the likes of maroon and burgundy — even white.
A New Jersey teenager who was hit by a line drive from a metal in a youth baseball game and suffered severe brain damage was awarded $14.5 million to satisfy his lawsuit against the bat manufacturer and a sporting goods chain.
Steven Domalewski, 18, lives in Wayne, N.J. The lawsuit claimed the metal bat was unsafe because of higher speeds off metal bats as compared to wood bats.
Domalewski was pitching when the ball hit him in the chest and sent him into cardiac arrest. He quit breathing. Someone trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation began working on Stevens. Paramedics soon arrived.
The manufacturers of the Louisville Slugger bat confirmed a settlement had been reached, but declined comment.
An attorney representing The Sports Authority, a national sporting goods company, did not return calls and an attorney representing Little League Baseball had no comment.
Little League reached an agreement with major manufacturers in the early 1990s to limit metal bats’ performance to that of the top wood bats. Little League said in 2008 that injuries to pitchers fell from 145 a year before the agreement to the current level of 20 to 30 annually.
Posted by Deb Smith