Pitching coach Wes Johnson is moving back up the college ranks in a surprising turn of events, the Twins confirmed, leaving the team to take a job as pitching coach at Louisiana State University.
News of Johnson’s departure broke on Sunday afternoon as the first-placed Twins headed to Cleveland for a five-game, four-day series against the Guardians. Johnson is currently with the team in Cleveland and will remain in his position there until the end of the series on Thursday.
Johnson has been the Twins pitching coach since 2019, was hired away from the University of Arkansas to fill the staff role of manager Rocco Baldelli, and has been widely praised by players for his work with them. The Twins pitchers have a cumulative 46.8 fWAR (Vince Above Replacement Per Fangraph) since Johnson took over, 10th among major league teams in that time frame.
The pitching coach was an early adopter of the Trackman system and other forms of technology and is well-versed in biomechanics, weaving both into his coaching. His forward thinking was something that made him attractive to the twins when he hired them.
Johnson’s departure creates a hole for a coaching staff that has seen its fair share of business over the years and raises questions about how the Twins will replace him. Bullpen coach Pete Maki and assistant pitching coach Luis Ramirez, as well as run prevention coordinator Colby Suggs and Josh Kalk, vice president of baseball operations strategy and innovation, will play a large part in helping them perform some of their duties.
Prior to this season, the Twins added bench coach Jayce Tingler, hitting coach David Popkins, first base coach Hank Conger, assistant pitching coach Luis Ramirez to staff, and the job responsibilities of Tommy Watkins and Tony Diaz during an off-season overhaul. sewn to
Smith to IL
The Twins lost another player to an injury on Sunday, placing reliever Joe Smith on a 15-day IL with upper trapezius stiffness, something that Baldelli said the veteran had been dealing with for a few days.
Smith, who has a 2.78 ERA this season, pitched for the last time in a dramatic seventh inning on Thursday, in which he loaded the bases and then got out of the jam.
To fill the roster spot, the Twins recalled lefty Jovani Moran from Triple-A St. Paul.
“With all the work we’re getting, I can’t sit there and not be able to pick up the ball,” Smith said. “It’s not fair to them where we are now. So just take care of it, knock it off and get back there. A week to get back to health and a week to get back up.”
planning to have twins josh winder Serve as the 27th man and start a game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. The twins have yet to say which game they will start and which Devin Smeltzer Will pitch in.