11:26am: The Twins announced the promotion and also revealed that they’ve hired Michael Salazar away from the Padres to serve as their new head athletic trainer. He was previously San Diego’s assistant athletic trainer. Salazar is surely familiar with Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey, having spent the 2000-18 seasons working on various training staffs with the Indians organization, where Falvey was previously an assistant GM.
9:30am: The Twins will promote minor league field coordinator Edgar Varela to hitting coach for the 2020 season, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. Varela will replace the well-regarded James Rowson, who was hired away by the Marlins as the new bench coach and “offensive coordinator” in Miami.
Varela, 39, spent a decade coaching and managing in the Pirates’ system before joining the Twins in 2018. He’ll team with assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez in an effort to continue the progress made in what was a breakout campaign for many of the Twins’ young hitters. Minnesota ranked first in the Majors in home runs (307), second in total runs scored (939) and tied the Nationals for the fourth-lowest strikeout rate of any team in the game (20.9 percent).
Minnesota is still waiting to find out whether bench coach Derek Shelton will return for the 2020 season or whether he’ll land a promotion with the Pirates. Shelton is reported to be a finalist in Pittsburgh’s managerial search, and if he’s ultimately offered that job, the Twins will have yet another key role to fill on 2019 AL Manager of the Year Rocco Baldelli’s staff.