Former New Ulmite Terry Steinbach said that he feels being named the new Minnesota Twins bench coach "is a great opportunity for me and gives me the opportunity to give things back to the game of baseball."
Steinbach was hired as the Twins' new bench coach after the organization did some remodeling in some on-field coaching positions.
"After the Twins' shake-up, there were a few phone calls that I got from (Twins General Manager) Terry Ryan about if I was interested (in the bench coaching position)," he said. "I went home and talked it over with my wife Mary. We felt that it was something that we wanted to explore. I went through the interview process and waited until they made their decision."
Every baseball fan knows the duties of a pitching or hitting coach. But what exactly are the responsibilities of a bench coach?
"The bench coaches job - and it is different from team to team - but in a nutshell I am going to be Gardy's sounding board," Steinbach said. "He may be thinking about making a move and he would ask me what I think about it. He may also have me do some research about what a certain hitter hit off of this pitcher - should we bring in this pitcher to come in to face this particular hitter. I am kind of a sounding board for the manager.I can kind of strategize with the manager during the course of the game."
He said that he will have additional on-field duties.
"I will throw batting practice and possibly do line-ups," he said.
Steinbach will also work with the Twins' catchers.
"I am really excited about doing that and working on game-calling. I will work in conjunction with (Twins' pitching coach) Rick Anderson and coming up with a real good game plan so that pitching and catching we can improve in both of those areas."
Steinbach knows that one of the problems this season for the Twins was the pitching. But he sees some bright spots on the horizon for Minnesota fans.
"There are some good, young pitching down in the minors and it is going to take a while for them to develop," he said. "Kyle Gibson is getting a lot of positive ink. He is coming back from Tommy John surgery. He is currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League. The reports are that he is doing real well. You know that you have to start with that good, solid pitching. Hopefully we can get Scott Baker back and he is healthy and if we get a couple of pleasant surprises from the minor league system, it would not take much to get the Twins back in contention.
"We were inconsistent in the starting pitching - we did not get deep into the games with that and we had to go to the bullpen way to early," Steinbach added. "That is not healthy for anybody."
Steinbach said that there were some positives from last year in catcher Joe Mauer, who contended for the batting title, and Justin Morneau making it through an entire season healthy.
"Glen Perkins came out of the bullpen as a closer and that is positive," he said. "We got to see some of the young position players like (Pedro) Florimon at shortstop. There are positive things within the organization."
He said that the next month or two Twins fans will see how things are going to shake out.
"We want to get back on the winning track. We want to put a productive team on the field."