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March Mania

Twins name Edgar Varela hitting coach

The Twins announced Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, they will wear their baby blue uniforms as their alternate jersey in 2020. Courtesy photo / Minnesota Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins have found their replacement for hitting coach James Rowson, choosing Edgar Varela. They announced the promotion on Monday, Nov. 25, as well as the hiring of Michael Salazar as their new head athletic trainer.

Rowson left the club this offseason to serve as the bench coach and offensive coordinator for the Miami Marlins, opening the door for the Twins to promote Varela, their minor league field coordinator of two seasons.

Varela, 39, began his coaching career with the Pirates in 2008, serving as a coach for the GCL Pirates that year. He managed for three years (2014-16) within the Pirates’ organization and was with the Pirates for 10.

Varela was drafted in the 31st round of the 2002 draft out of Long Beach State by the White Sox. The infielder played parts of five seasons in the White Sox, Diamondbacks and Marlins organizations, never rising above high Class-A.

He inherits an offense that slashed .270/.338/.494 and set a new major league record with 307 home runs, while seeing breakout offensive season from multiple players, including catcher Mitch Garver, shortstop Jorge Polanco and outfielder Max Kepler.

Salazar takes over for Tony Leo, let go this offseason. He comes to the Twins from the Padres, where he served as their assistant athletic trainer in 2018. Prior to that, he was with the Indians from 2000-18, working on medical staffs throughout the organization.

The Twins’ coaching staff still has question marks, including the future of bench coach Derek Shelton, a finalist for the Mets’ managerial position before being passed over for Carlos Beltran. Shelton is currently a finalist for Pirates’ job, the only managerial opening in the majors.

Assistant pitching coach Jeremy Hefner also reportedly interviewed for the Mets’ vacant pitching coach position. The Mets have yet to fill the spot.

Team brings back baby blues

The Twins are bringing back their popular baby blue uniforms in 2020, the club announced Monday morning.

The alternates, which will be worn both at home and on the road, will be similar to the uniforms the club wore on the road during the 1970s and ’80s.

“No uniform in the history of Minnesota Twins baseball drives more fan engagement than the old-school baby blues,” Twins president Dave St. Peter said in a release. “With that popularity in mind, we are excited to bring this uniform back as part of our 60th season celebration.

“It’s going to be fun to watch the 2020 Twins wearing the same look as Twins legends from the 1970s and 1980s.”

The Twins teased the launch of the uniforms a day earlier, turning their logo baby blue across their social media channels.

The Twins also introduced a 60th anniversary patch, which will be worn on uniforms and caps in 2020, and reintroduced the “Minnie and Paul,” left sleeve patch. The anniversary patch will honor both Minneapolis and St. Paul, with the Minneapolis skyline, the Minnesota State Capitol building, the Stone Arch Bridge and Mississippi River featured.