Edgar Varela will be the new Twins hitting coach, the team announced Monday. Michael Salazar has been named the head athletic trainer, replacing Tony Leo.
Varela has been with the Twins in a minor league role, and spent the past two seasons as the minor league field coordinator. Salazar previously worked as an assistant athletic trainer with the Padres, and before that he spent almost 20 years in the Cleveland Indians organization.
The coaching staff, at this moment in time, appears to be in flux. Rocco Baldelli will be back and clutching an AL Manager of the Year trophy – that much we know. But there already has been some turnover on the coaching staff, and there could be more to come.
James Rowson left his post as hitting coach to take over as the Miami Marlins’ bench coach and offensive coordinator.
Rudy Hernandez, the assistant hitting coach, is expected to be back although no announcement has been made on that front. A report in the Star Tribune on Monday suggested that Varela and Hernandez will work in concert.
Pitching coach Wes Johnson will be back, we’re told, after a first season in the pro ranks following a career spent mostly as a college pitching guy.
However, assistant pitching coach Jeremy Hefner was once considered the favorite to be the new Mets pitching coach, a job that remains vacant under new manager Carlos Beltran. (The Mets have now hired a bench coach, Henry Meulens, so perhaps that pitching coach search will conclude soon.)
And Derek Shelton, the right-hand man to Baldelli last season, is reported to be a finalist for the managerial opening with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
That feels like a lot in flux in late November for a big league coaching staff. Worth noting, though, is that you’d rather have so much success that you lose coaches to better jobs than the opposite. Bad teams tend to kick out their coaches, not have them promoted away from them.