The Minnesota Twins announced the 2018 coaching staff for the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Wednesday, confirming reports that Toby Gardenhire will manage the team next season.
Gardenhire is the son of former longtime Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was hired as the new skipper of the Detroit Tigers two months ago. Both Gardenhires are former Midwest Leaguers — Toby played for the Beloit Snappers in 2006 — which I wrote about here earlier this month.
As I also noted in this previous post, former Snappers second baseman/outfielder Brian Dinkelman will return for a third season as the Kernels’ hitting coach. J.P. Martinez, however, has been promoted by the Twins to the position of Minor League Assistant Pitching Coordinator, after he served as Kernels pitching coach the last two seasons.
Martinez is being replaced by two pitching coaches. Cibney Bello and Justin Willard will share duties in that capacity for the Kernels. It will be Bello’s third season as a coach in the Twins organization, and Williard’s first. Bello is no stranger to the Midwest League, having served as the Clinton LumberKings’ pitching coach in 2014 and 2015, and as a pitcher for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2005. Willard did not play baseball professionally, but played and coached collegiately prior to joining the Twins organization.