Steinbach happy with first year as bench coach

By Jim Bastian

Journal Sports Writer

Former New Ulmite Terry Steinbach said that his first year as bench coach for the Minnesota Twins went as he thought it would as far as the coaching part went.

“But obviously even as a coach and as well as players, you want to win so it was frustrating for us as coaches and I am sure for the players that we did not win more,” he said. “I am sure that we all wanted to compete more and win more. That is something that as coaches, we want to try and do better at.”

While Steinbach did not say that the season was frustrating, he felt that it was more challenging than anything.

“The Twins are rebuilding, there are younger players that were brought up and some or them may have been ready to be brought up and some were not ready to be brought up (from the minors),” Steinbach said. “It is more challenging because you need to find a way to get the talent out of the kids that are there.”

Steinbach said that being a coach is a lot different from when he was a player, especially in the hours of preparation that coaches do for every game.

“For a 7 p.m. game, the coaches are at the park at about 1:30 and we do our preparation,” said Steinbach. “We sit (Steinbach and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire) and talk about what kind of lineup we are going to have for that game. We get our offensive and defensive charts that the player can use for that game. The easiest part is when the game starts.”

One of the things that frustrated Steinbach this season was not having a set day-to-day lineup that they could send out on the field.

“People have no idea how much work goes into picking out a lineup, especially in our case,” said Steinbach. “This year we did not have a set lineup and we would see the Detroit Tigers come in and Jim Leyland (Tigers’ manager) would send his lineup over. Every day it was the same and maybe have one change. In our case we are constantly trying to find what players are doing well and what positions can we put players in to have the best possibility to succeed.”

That was compounded by a lack of a solid starting pitching staff.

“If you have five consistent starters then you would not have to worry about the starters but you still have the offense,” he said. “In our case, we are trying to develop players. We watched (Kyle) Gibson come up and [we’re] trying to get Scott Diamond back on track. We were trying to find out who can help the ballclub, who is going to move forward and who is not.”

The Twins also lost a key player from their past when Justin Morneau was traded to Pittsburgh.

“He (Morneau) is a class player,” said Steinbach. “Everything he did he did very well. He was a good clubhouse leader and a good example on the field and has a great work ethic. Unfortunately, he was a victim of a front office move. He was going to be a free agent at the end of the year. With us out of it, it made all the sense in the world to put him in a team that needed him and give him the chance for the postseason.”

Steinbach said that there are positives in the Twins’ future.

“We can build around (pitchers) Mike Pelfrey and (Kevin) Correia,” he said. “They did OK. Glen Perkins really solidified the closer role and in general our bullpen was very good this season. They were much over used but their numbers were good. I think that Brian Dozier had a good year and our defense led the league in turning double plays. We all saw how Aaron Hicks played defensively. There are some things to go on.”

He did say that he sees the Twins spending money in the free agent market.

“What is the best value our there. They want to make signings as beneficial to the team as possible.”

He said that younger players like Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano need to get experience and that is what the minors is all about and try to get as consistent as they can be.

“It is easier being a player than being a coach,” he said. “As a player you are in control of what happens. I had a great time this year. You get to see how the other side works and it is amazing how fast and how quick decisions have to be made by the manager.”

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