March 03, 2017

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) A member of the 3,000-hit club and the Hall of Fame, Paul Molitor was impressed by new Minnesota Twins hitting coach James Rowson.

''I had a lot of good input before I had a chance to even sit down and have a nice long conversion,'' Molitor said before Friday's game against Philadelphia. ''I think there's a lot of attributes there that reflected well in his interview and we decided to go that direction.''

Rowson's tasks include developing younger hitters Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler and Bryon Buxton.

''It's exciting for me because I've been doing this the last couple years with the same style, the same type of group of players,'' Rowson said. ''These guys are really exciting. Young players with promise. They're hungry. They really want it. So, I'm kind of approaching it the same way, with a light, easy kind of effort - have some fun but also let's also play with a lot of aggression.''

Rowson was the New York Yankees minor league hitting coordinator the previous three years and was involved with the emergence of Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Aaron Judge.

In his 16th pro coaching season, Rowson spent 1 1/2 years in the big leagues. He became the interim hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs in June 2012 and had the interim tag removed the following year.

''The first time I did it, everything was new to me,'' Rowson said. ''But this time, you kind of fit in right away. You know what to expect. You know what the daily routine is. You're more comfortable in the way you go about things. So, it's been a really good, I want to say calming experience for me this time through.''

Molitor has received ''a lot of good feedback'' about Rowson during spring training.

''There's a certain energy component to that role, there's a certain ability to communicate and build relationships to that role, and obviously, they've got to have a pretty good idea of hitting,'' Molitor said. ''I guess the true test will be when a player slides or the team doesn't score for a few days.''

Rowson viewed Friday's batting practice from multiple angles and also spent time talking with Molitor behind the cage.

''If you want to talk hitting, I don't think there's anybody better to talk hitting with than Paul Molitor,'' Rowson said. ''It's awesome to have him there and bounced things off him.''

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