Twins to retain Ron Gardenhire with multiyear deal

MINNEAPOLIS — Ron Gardenhire is staying in Minnesota.

The Twins announced Monday that they will retain Gardenhire with a two-year contract extension through the 2015 season. Gardenhire’s contract expired at the end of the 2013 season, and after three straight years of 96 or more losses, his future in Minnesota remained uncertain after Sunday’s finale.

In addition to Gardenhire’s extension, the team also announced that the entire coaching staff will return for the 2014 season. The Twins will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. CT at Target Field to discuss the news. CEO Jim Pohlad, general manager Terry Ryan, president Dave St. Peter and Gardenhire will all be on hand for the news conference.

Gardenhire took over as manager in 2002, replacing Tom Kelly. In Gardenhire’s 12 years at the helm, the Twins have won six American League Central championships. The 55-year-old Gardenhire has compiled a career record of 998-947. He was hoping to get to 1,000 career wins during the 2013 season as he entered an uncertain offseason. Now, he’ll have his chance to reach that milestone in a Twins uniform.

After winning the AL Central in 2010, the injury-plagued Twins lost 99 games in 2011. Minnesota followed that up with back-to-back 96-loss seasons, which some fans believe should have resulted in a managerial change. At the same time, Gardenhire’s players acknowledged that the blame shouldn’t solely be placed on the manager.

“I think a lot of people put our results on Gardy. I don’t think that’s necessarily fair,” said reliever Brian Duensing. “He can’t go out there and play for us. Just because we’re not performing doesn’t mean it’s his fault. I think that’s where some people kind of get things skewed a little bit. It’s frustrating. It’s disappointing as a player to see the blame put on somebody else when we’re the ones that aren’t doing our job very well.”

Gardenhire has always been known as a player’s manager during his tenure in Minnesota. After Sunday’s loss in the season finale to Cleveland, Minnesota’s players expressed their desire to see Gardenhire return for his 13th season.

“This season, I don’t think really who was managing would have had much of a difference,” catcher Joe Mauer said Sunday. “Gardy’s a great manager. He’s managed some great teams here. He’s a great leader, and I hope to see him back here.”

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