MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins have interviewed coach Scott Ullger in their search for a new manager to succeed Tom Kelly, who retired Friday.
Ullger, 45, who lives in Visalia, Calif., has coached in the Twins organization for the past 11 years, the past two as batting coach. General manager Terry Ryan spoke with him on the phone for about two hours Monday.
Having managed Twins affiliates at the Class A, AA and AAA levels, Ullger is familiar with player development. He also had success as a minor league manager. Over his last five years (1990-94) as a minor league manager, Ullger's teams never finished below second place.
He was promoted to the major league staff in 1995 and was the third base coach until 1998, when he became batting coach.
Ullger always has wanted to be a major league manager and said the Twins organization is on the way up.
"We're finally making strides towards the promised land," Ullger said. "You definitely want to be a part of that, to reap the benefits of everything we've done."
On Sunday, Ryan met with third base coach Ron Gardenhire. Gardenhire and Paul Molitor are considered the top prospects from within the organization.
Molitor, who has been a coach for two years since retiring from playing in 1998, has said he was thinking about Ryan's request that he apply.
Ryan indicated it could be some time before he makes a choice.
"There's no time frame," Ryan said, "but I would like to get it done to alleviate any fears of any of the remaining staff about knowing where they will be. If it's soon, good. If not, it's because I'm still going through the process."
Ryan repeated he plans to consider outsiders as well. Names that have been mentioned includes Yankees third base coach Willie Randolph and former Montreal manager Felipe Alou.
Ullger said he would have no problem remaining with the Twins if he didn't get the job.
"I just think we are fortunate as an organization to have three capable people from within for the job," he said.
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