Twins manager Molitor says coach's well-being matters most
SEATTLE (AP) Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor said his primary concern was for the well-being of pitching coach Neil Allen, who was suspended by the team following his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.
''There's a lot of things that are swirling around, but my thoughts are about what we can do for him here in the short term to support him,'' Molitor said before Friday's game in Seattle. ''I've talked to him a few times yesterday and again today, just making sure he's doing OK. It's a brotherhood in here and I'm concerned about my friend.''
Allen, a recovering alcoholic, was arrested early Thursday morning in Minneapolis. The Twins had played at home against Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon.
Minor league pitching coordinator Eric Rasmussen was named interim pitching coach and traveled Friday from Florida to join the team.
Allen was named pitching coach prior to the 2015 season, Molitor's first as manager. In an interview last year with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Allen said he had not had a drink since 1994.
''It has been a relationship that basically started with the interview process last year,'' said Molitor. ''But the more I've gotten to know him, the more respect I have for him. He's very good at his job. He's a very good person. He's got a heart of gold, so it's just one of those sad things that happened yesterday and we'll do what we have to do. We'll follow protocol and hopefully we can get him back soon.''
Molitor said when he received the news from Twins general manager Terry Ryan, that ''It was more of a sadness moment than a shock moment for me.''
After discussing the matter with Ryan, Rasmussen was the obvious choice as an interim replacement, Molitor said.
''It avoids having to do anything that causes a domino effect at the lower levels,'' Molitor said. ''You bring in your pitching coordinator. He's been a big league pitcher, he's been a pitching coach for a long time. It made the most sense of anything we might have considered.''
Allen, 58, posted a 58-70 record with a 3.88 ERA in 11 seasons in the majors, mostly as a reliever. He came up with the New York Mets in 1979, and also played for the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox, and a three-game stint in 1989 with the Cleveland Indians. Prior to joining the Twins, he spent eight seasons as a minor league pitching coach for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Rasmussen, 64, who has been in the Twins organization since 1991, interviewed for the pitching coach position that eventually went to Allen.
The Twins entered Friday's game with 12-34 record, tied for worst in the majors and an AL-worst team ERA of 5.07.