Twins players laud Gardy for his 13 years at helm

Twins players laud Gardy for his 13 years at helm

MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Twins struggled through four straight years with at least 90 losses, manager Ron Gardenhire never lost the support of the players in the clubhouse.

Gardenhire was dismissed as manager on Monday after 13 years at the helm, but Twins players had nothing but positive things to say about their former skipper.

"It's saddening to hear it," Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said in a phone interview. "For me, personally, Gardy is the only manager I've had. Once I got to the big leagues, he's the one who showed me how to be a professional. He pulled me aside when I needed to be chewed out or picked up. I can't even tell you how much I learned from him."

Closer Glen Perkins, a two-time All-Star who made his Twins debut in 2006, was also saddened to hear that Gardenhire will no longer manage in Minnesota. He found out while cleaning his locker at Target Field on Monday morning, and expressed disappointment at the news.

"As much as anything, he was the same guy whether we won or lost," Perkins said by phone. "He came to the field with a great attitude wanting to work and improve. It just came down to us going on the field and not performing. And I think as players, it's disappointing to us. We didn't do enough to help him keep his job."

Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who has been with the club since 2010, echoed Perkins' statements, saying that it wasn't Gardenhire's fault for the way the club played over the last four years.

"For whatever reason, fans and other people think it's the manager or the coaches' fault when a team loses and it's something I don't necessarily agree with," Plouffe said by phone. "I don't think there was much Gardy could've done with what we were putting out there against other teams. There's not much he could've done to change things."

Right-hander Phil Hughes, who just finished his first year with the Twins, took to Twitter to also say Minnesota's 92-loss season was on the players and not Gardenhire.

"We as players had a responsibility to the organization, fans, and coaches to win this season," Hughes tweeted. "We failed."

Left-hander Brian Duensing, who has been with the Twins since '09, also tweeted his support for Gardenhire, who took the Twins to six American League Central titles in nine years.

"I really hope fans remember all the good that Gardy did for the Twins, the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota," Duensing tweeted. "Thank you Gardy."

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.