FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A familiar face was at the Twins' Spring Training complex on Tuesday, as former manager Ron Gardenhire was on hand to watch his son, Toby, manage the University of Wisconsin-Stout against the Twins' Gulf Coast League team.
The Twins were playing up in Sarasota against the Orioles, so Gardenhire didn't get the chance to talk to the current coaching staff, but he did run into Paul Molitor shortly before Spring Training started. Gardenhire and his wife, Carol, were getting a tour of the renovated facilities from special assistant and former Twins general manager Bill Smith, when they ran into Molitor and his wife, Destini, as they were on a bike ride through the complex.
Molitor said Gardenhire, who managed the Twins from 2002-14, has been nothing but supportive throughout the entire process and they had a nice chat when they ran into each other.
"It was good to see him," Molitor said. "We ended up having a nice talk. He let me know he's enjoying his downtime and trying to figure out what his next venture is going to be. It was totally good."
Gardenhire has maintained he'd like to get back into managing, but he also has an offer to remain a part of the Twins' organization. Gardenhire has so far declined that opportunity, as he's looking to take a year away from baseball.
"He has stated many times he will probably take the year off," general manager Terry Ryan said. "But if a managerial position opened up in this game, I would anticipate he'd be one of the frontrunners or certainly one of the first people an organization might talk to."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.