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Gardenhire not a lock to return to Twins

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MINNEAPOLIS — Following a report in Friday’s edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune in which Twins general manager Terry Ryan told columnist Sid Hartman that manager Ron Gardenhire would be back next season, Ryan wanted to clarify his stance later in the day.

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“At the end of the year we are going to sit down and we’ll discuss the year,” Ryan said. “There’s a lot of season left. There’s a lot of things that will be decided upon in the next six or seven weeks.”

Ryan did not back away from the report, but if the Twins struggle to the finish, that could certainly change the way Ryan approaches next season.

“There’s no guarantees for anybody’s job, including my own,” Ryan said.

The report in the Tribune riled some fans fed up with Minnesota’s struggles in recent years. Gardenhire, the 2010 American League Manager of the Year, has been at the helm for the Twins since 2002, managing the team to six AL Central titles between 2002 and 2010. But the Twins have lost 90-plus games in each of the past three years and are on pace to do so in 2014.

“We’re not doing well. I’ll be the first to tell you that,” Ryan said. “We’ve got to do a better job as an operation, as a baseball organization of improving this product.”

Ryan added that he wasn’t sure if he would be back. Ryan, who turns 61 in October, had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his neck in mid-February. Radiation treatments and his recovery kept him from spring training and he did not resume every day duties as the team’s GM until mid-June.

By all accounts, Ryan is in good health now, but it’s possible he could choose to step down from the every-day grind.

Either way, it’s a decision Ryan said won’t come until the end of the season.

“It would be premature to tell you anything about anybody’s future, including my own,” Ryan said.

Asked about the vote of confidence, Gardenhire, who last fall signed a contract extension through next season, passed.

“I talk to Terry Ryan about it. And we’ll talk at the end of the year, as always,” Gardenhire said. “Nothing’s been talked about and I worry about that stuff when the season’s over with.”

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