October 25, 2018 04:00 PM
Rocco Baldelli was introduced as the new manager of the Minnesota Twins at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
At 37, the former Tampa Bay Rays player, assistant and coach becomes the youngest manager in Major League Baseball. He takes over for Paul Molitor, who was released following a 78-84 record last season.
"I want to work with amazing people," he said. "And I think I've found a great group and a great organization to show up to the field with every day."
Baldelli was the Rays' field coordinator in 2018 after having served as first base coach from 2015-17. The outfielder had a seven-season MLB career, almost all of it spent in Tampa Bay. As a player, he battled Mitochondrial Disease, which causes muscle fatigue.
But he said Thursday that he feels fine.
"I don't have to run around on the field anymore, which helps," he said smiling.
Baldelli also interviewed for the vacant manager jobs in Toronto and Texas.
"I don't think I could have envisioned a scenario where we could have found a better partner than Rocco Baldelli to be the manager of the Minnesota Twins," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said.
Baldelli said his initial focus will be on assembling a coaching staff.
"That's one of the most important, if not the most important, topic for all of us to be spending time on right now," he said. "The construction of a staff is essential to a Major League Baseball team having success, creating an environment and getting where it wants to be."
Baldelli said he also wants to start meeting with players as soon as possible.
"As I sit here right now, I want to learn as much as I can about these guys," he said. "I want to talk to people who have spent time around them. And I want to meet them and talk to them myself."
He also said he spoke briefly by phone with first baseman Joe Mauer, who is contemplating what his plans will be for 2019. He called Mauer as respected a player as there is in the game today.
"I think everyone would love Joe Mauer to be a part of the Twins organization in some way going forward," he said.
Updated: October 25, 2018 04:00 PM
Created: October 25, 2018 03:11 PM
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