Twins like having hitting coach Rudy Hernandez back in the dugout
CLEVELAND — Assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez had his in-game dugout privileges restored after the Twins recently petitioned Major League Baseball on his behalf.
A native of Venezuela, Hernandez now goes back and forth between the indoor batting cages and the far corner of the dugout, where he usually spends part of the game chatting with the team's Spanish-speaking players.
"I think it's better," Hernandez said. "They come from the plate to the dugout and they see me right there, and we can talk a little bit about all kinds of stuff. Sometimes they'll ask me something about baseball and I'll tell them, but at the same time I can talk to the other coaches."
That came in handy on Thursday after hitting coach James Rowson was ejected by plate umpire Adrian Johnson in the top of the seventh inning. It was the first career ejection for Rowson, who was barking from the first-base dugout.
"He protects his hitters, no question," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think he was probably doing a little more peeking upstairs (at video) than I was. Guys are trying to fight against a good pitcher (Corey Kluber), and you want a strike to be a strike."
When the Twins added major league coach Jeff Pickler to the staff before the 2017 season, Hernandez was restricted to the cages once the game started. The Twins noticed other clubs with eight coaches in the dugout or bullpen, and Hernandez was returned to the dugout mix after the all-star break.
This week at Progressive Field, Twins closer Fernando Rodney stopped by and joined Club Rudy for an inning or so before heading out to the bullpen for the seventh.
"Rodney is always fun," Hernandez said. "He's always talking about thinking positive. He's always positive we're going to win the game. That's good. We've got to keep the young kids positive, you know? That's how the mentality is going to come back."
Twins reliever Matt Magill and his wife welcomed their first child over the weekend. Next month it will be fellow reliever Addison Reed's turn.
Cady Reed is due Sept. 20 with the couple's second child, another daughter.
"I'm already outnumbered," Reed said. "Now it will be 3 to 1."
Reed, who makes his offseason home in his wife's hometown of Canton, Ohio, about an hour's drive from Progressive Field, has stayed at the team hotel in downtown Cleveland for the first two trips into town this season. Extensive renovations at the Reeds' home of three years are in the final stages, so both sets of his wife's grandparents along with Reed's in-laws stayed at the hotel this week.
"We've got everybody," Reed said. "Even have both of our dogs with us."
— Right-hander Aaron Slegers (shoulder inflammation) was pulled off his rehab assignment and underwent an MRI that showed no structural damage. "We're going back to square one with him," Molitor said of Slegers, who felt a "pinching sensation" during a recent bullpen session at Triple-A Rochester.
— Byron Buxton (left wrist) could hit on the field at Rochester as soon as early next week as he works toward activation.
— Outfielder Robbie Grossman, who could come off the DL as soon as Aug. 14, took some light swings off the tee on Wednesday. He could join the club this weekend in Detroit as his hamstring continues to improve. Running at Target Field is difficult amid concert preparations.
— Lefty Adalberto Mejia (left wrist) was scheduled to play long toss on Thursday with a bullpen session on Friday in Detroit. Swelling has been reduced but the Twins still haven't confirmed him as Sunday's starter.
— Four Twins prospects were named on Baseball America's annual Best Tools survey of league managers and coaches: Royce Lewis (Most Exciting Player in Midwest League), Alex Kirilloff (Best Hitting Prospect, Midwest League), LHP Jovani Moran (Best Changeup, Midwest League), and Brian Navaretto (Best Defensive Catcher, Southern League).