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Twins pitching coach Allen suspended after arrest on suspicion of DWI

By Mike Berardino St. Paul Pioneer Press MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins pitching coach Neil Allen has been suspended indefinitely with pay after being arrested Thursday and charged with driving while intoxicated, the team announced. Eric Rasmussen, in his ...

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Minnesota Twins pitching coach Neil Allen, left, and manager Paul Molitor confer in the eighth inning as the Twins play the Kansas City Royals Tuesday in Minneapolis. (John Autey | Pioneer Press)

By Mike Berardino

St. Paul Pioneer Press

MINNEAPOLIS - Twins pitching coach Neil Allen has been suspended indefinitely with pay after being arrested Thursday and charged with driving while intoxicated, the team announced.

Eric Rasmussen, in his eighth season as minor league pitching coordinator for the Twins, was named interim pitching coach.

According to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office web site, Allen was taken into custody at 3:48 a.m. on Thursday and released without bail at 10:32 a.m., pending a complaint. The reason for arrest is listed as “probable cause” and the charge is listed as “DWI.”

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In a statement, the Twins said they are “aware of the pending DWI charge” against Allen and said the matter “will be handled in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Minnesota Twins.”

The statement said the Twins would have no further comment at this time.

Allen declined comment Thursday in a text message to the Pioneer Press.

Allen, 58, was hired to replace Rick Anderson as Twins pitching coach in November 2014, shortly after Paul Molitor took over as manager. A former big-league pitcher for 11 seasons, Allen had spent the previous eight seasons as a minor league pitching coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, drawing rave reviews with his high-energy approach and creativity as an instructor.

Twins pitchers responded well to Allen’s passionate style in 2015, improving to 19th in major league earned run average (4.07) after finishing 29th the previous year. The Twins staff has regressed this season due to a combination of injury and ineffectiveness, falling back to 29th in the majors with a 5.07 ERA.

Allen’s struggle with alcohol was well documented during his pitching career. In 1983, while with the New York Mets, Allen acknowledged fabricating an excuse for missing a game before later being diagnosed with an emotional “stress reaction” by doctors at an alcohol-treatment center.

A promising closer with 69 saves by age 25, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals six weeks later. Rasmussen was pitching in Triple-A for the Cardinals at the time.

In 1989, while pitching for the Cleveland Indians, Allen spent a month at the Valhalla Clinic in Sarasota, Fla., where he still lives in the offseason. Since joining the Twins Allen had been quoted saying he had been sober since 1994.

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In September 2012, his wife Lisa died at 53 after suffering an aneurysm. Allen was left to raise the couple’s son Bobby, now 16, on his own.

The last-place Twins beat the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday afternoon for just their 12th victory in 46 games this season. The Twins had a scheduled off day on Thursday before flying to Seattle, where they begin a three-game series on Friday against the Mariners.

Rasmussen, 64, is in his 26th season with the organization. A resident of Cape Coral, Fla., he was pitching coach for Class A Fort Myers for 10 seasons (1999-2008).

Among several finalists for the big-league pitching coach position that eventually went to Allen, Rasmussen pitched for eight seasons in the majors with the Cardinals, San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals. He went 50-77 with a 3.85 earned run average.

 

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