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Twins set out to change directions

Ap

The search has begun for a new manager of the Minnesota Twins for the first time in 13 years. After four straight seasons of at least 92 losses, the mandate to find a fresh perspective in the dugout has been made clear.

“We’re going to change the voice and change the presence,” general manager Terry Ryan said.

This is an organization that has historically promoted from within. In discussing Ron Gardenhire’s dismissal this week, Ryan and team president Dave St. Peter acknowledged their belief in the benefits of hiring an internal candidate. Can the Twins do that and steer the team in a new direction at the same time?

“We’ll certainly open it up to anybody and everybody that is capable of managing a major league baseball team. I don’t think we ought to just stay within, although that would be a nice preference if you could,” Ryan said. “That will be addressed and certainly explored, but also there are people outside the organization you should consider. We’ll get it done as soon as we can.”

Paul Molitor has been widely assumed as a favorite to succeed Gardenhire since he was added to the coaching staff for the 2014 season. Born and raised across the river in St. Paul, a product of the same high school as Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, Molitor has “Hall of Fame member” on his resume plus a long list of tributes from players in the organization who’ve worked with him during his 10 years as a roving minor league instructor.

Among the other potential internal candidates are bench coach Terry Steinbach, former first baseman and current Class A Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz, and Triple-A Rochester manager Gene Glynn.

“Just because folks have been inside,” St. Peter said, “doesn’t mean that we don’t believe they could be successful if given the platform to have their voice heard and that they couldn’t be a part of establishing that winning culture.”

Mound visits limited

Teams will be limited to three trips to the mound by managers, coaches and catchers during a game, except for pitching changes, under experimental speed-up rules to be used during the Arizona Fall League.

The average time of nine-inning games in the major leagues was a record 3 hours, 2 minutes this year, up from 2:33 in 1981.

Clearing the bases

Marlins ace Jose Fernandez is throwing again, 4 1/2 months after he underwent season-ending Tommy John elbow surgery. … Michael Wacha, who starred in the postseason as a rookie last fall, will be in the Cardinals’ bullpen for the start of the N.L. Division Series. … Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched three innings of a simulated game for the Dodgers with no shoulder irritation. … The Royals’ comeback 9-8 win in 12 innings over Oakland on Tuesday averaged more than 5.2 million viewers on TBS.

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