Twins manager Rocco Baldelli returning for fifth season, Derek Falvey says

Rocco Baldelli will be back in the Twins’ dugout next year for a fifth season, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey confirmed on Friday, saying the thought of dismissing the manager never crossed his mind.

“Rocco’s our manager,” Falvey said. “He’s my partner in this all the way through.”

Baldelli entered the weekend with a 283-251 (.530) record at the helm of the Twins over the course of the past four seasons, but the Twins have faltered recently, slipping out of contention and under .500.

While Baldelli led to the Twins to the postseason in his first two seasons, winning the American League Manager of the Year Award after 2019’s 101-win season, they will now be on the outside looking in for the second straight October.

“We assess everything together as a group, trying to figure out all the things we could have done differently to get to a better place today,” Falvey said. “Some of that … is medically related, but I’m not going to use that as a singular excuse. There’s lots of areas we could be better.”

While Falvey did address Baldelli’s job security, he did not comment on the rest of the coaching staff, which was shaken up last year after a fifth-place finish in the American League Central.

“Rocco feels the same way I do — we’re trying to think about ways to get ourselves better,” Falvey said. “Rocco’s a big part of our future. Not just next year, but beyond.”

INJURY UPDATES

Outfielder Byron Buxton and pitcher Tyler Mahle have been shut down for the season, Falvey confirmed Friday, but there are others who the Twins believe might still have a chance of returning this season.

Falvey said Jorge Polanco, whose rehab assignment over the weekend was cut short by knee discomfort, is still trying to see if he might be able to return later this season. For now, they’re taking him “thoughtfully on a day-to-day basis,” Falvey said.

“I’m not ruling out his return toward the end of the year, but our priority is just getting him back to full health first,” Falvey said. “We may run out of calendar ultimately on that.”

Trevor Larnach, who has been rehabbing after core muscle surgery with the Saints, is also day to day after coming in on Thursday reporting wrist soreness. While they don’t believe that his wrist issue is anything serious, it does delay a return that could possibly have come as early as Friday.

Ryan Jeffers (thumb) remains on rehab with the Saints, and his return could come soon, and Falvey also said he’s hopeful that Max Kepler (wrist) is back before the season ends.

BRIEFLY

Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Tony Oliva took in Friday night’s game side by side in the Twins’ dugout. … Twins minor league pitcher Melvi Acosta, who currently plays for the Saints, received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for stanozolol, performance-enhancing drug.

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