DETROIT - Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he expects the Twins to interview bench coach John Russell for their vacant managerial position.
The Twins fired Ron Gardenhire last week, the first manager they’ve dismissed since Ray Miller in 1986. Russell has a close relationship with general manager Terry Ryan and will be brought in for an interview after the playoffs.
As I wrote last week, Showalter values Russell’s contributions as bench coach and catching instructor. However, he also offers a strong endorsement of Russell as a manager and would like to see him get another chance.
Russell compiled a 186-299 record as Pirates manager from 2008-10, but he’s often credited for pointing the franchise in the right direction. He began the 2011 season as Orioles third base coach before moving into the dugout and changing places with Willie Randolph.
Russell has a quiet, understated personality that makes it easy to overlook him on the staff. Showalter would like for him to get more credit.
All six of Showalter’s coaches are under contract for next season.
If Russell leaves, the Orioles will need to find a bench coach who also can instruct the catchers. Russell is regarded as one of the best in baseball.
Showalter would look internally first, though candidates are scarce. The Orioles have Einar Diaz, a former major league catcher, as an extra coach on the staff. Don Werner serves as the minor league catching instructor.