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Gardenhire Happy To Return: 'I Love This Organization'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire with the team again, officially hired yesterday as special assistant to general manager Terry Ryan.

"It's exciting for me to be back. I love this organization," Gardenhire said on WCCO's The Morning News with Dave Lee.

Gardenhire hadn't worked full time since he was fired in 2014 and said his wife is also thrilled with the move.

"Carol said, 'That's a great idea, because you're really cramping my style,'" Gardenhire said. "I'm not making that part up at all, I can promise you."

Gardenhire's new role is to instruct and evaluate minor league players, and he's already on the job at the Twins' facility in Ft. Myers, Florida.

The job also has Gardenhire traveling to all of the team's minor league affiliates. Ryan and Gardenhire had been talking for a while about the long-time member of the Twins' field staff returning in some role.

"I was fishing," Gardenhire said. "I was fishing a lot. He told me it's a good thing, get back in the game, see some of our young players. And I said, 'All right, let's do this.'"

After 11 years on Tom Kelly's coaching staff, Gardenhire began managing the Twins in 2002 and led the team to the playoffs six times. After he won AL manager of the year honors in 2010, the Twins' field product went sour, and upper management felt they needed a change at the top following four straight seasons of at least 90 losses. Paul Molitor was hired to replace Gardenhire, who now feels he needed to step aside.

"Honestly, it was a breather. I think I needed that," Gardenhire said. "I was, you know, beat up the last three or four years. All the guys were busting their tails and we just weren't getting it done. It was frustrating, so mentally you needed a little bit of a break."

Gardenhire said he missed going to the ballpark at first, but admitted it was a good feeling sitting around the house.

"It was a pretty good feeling, to tell you the truth, kind of sitting around and not doing anything, not going to the ballpark," Gardenhire said. "(But) I kept myself busy."

He told Lee that he and his wife have visited his new grandchild in Oklahoma several times.

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