News broke early Monday morning that the Minnesota Twins had found their successor to James Rowson as hitting coach. LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the team was promoting Edgar Varela from minor-league field coordinator — the role he held the last two seasons — to big-league hitting coach, according to sources.
It’s unclear what this means for existing hitting coach Rudy Hernandez, though the Twins haven’t commented on his status or the status of Varela as of this time. In fact, the expectation is that the staff won’t be finalized until the fate of Derek Shelton is decided. According to national MLB reporter Jon Heyman, Shelton is down to the final two in the race to be the next manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 39-year-old Varela was a 38th-round pick by the Detroit Tigers in 1998 and a 31st-round pick by the Chicago White Sox in 2002. He played five minor-league seasons, topping out at High-A and including a stint at Reno of the independent and now-defunct Golden Baseball League, while slashing .268/.315/.388.
Former Twins catcher Marcus Jensen was his teammate with the Reno Silver Sox that year.
A source told Zone Coverage that Varela is a solid fit for the job. “He’s great. He knows the game well,” the source said. “(He) speaks Spanish and is a really good leader. They’ll love him.”
Prior to joining the Twins organization, Varela spent nearly a decade working in player development for the Pittsburgh Pirates. His LinkedIn page lists his role as “Minor League Hitting Instructor” but has not been updated to reflect his move to the Twins.
The Twins announced a new (old) uniform combination on Monday morning, bringing back the vaunted baby blues that were prevalent in the early-Metrodome era. Officially, the combination was worn from 1973-86, per the Twins.
Not only will the jerseys be available to the Twins both on the road or at home, but they’ll have a patch on the right shoulder commemorating the 60th season of baseball in the Twin Cities.
Baby blue player tees, New Era 59Fifty hats and the jerseys themselves are available beginning Monday at the team’s official store at Target Field or at MLBShop.com.