Twins manager Ron Gardenhire visited Rogers High School and spoke with Royals baseball prospects on Wednesday, Jan. 25, during an open gym session.
“It was a wonderful, maybe once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Royals coach Brian Harapat, “for our guys to hear baseball insights and an important message about commitment from the highest baseball coaching position in the state of Minnesota.”
Gardenhire was “so down-to-earth, pleasant, and motivating,” added Harapat. “We are very thankful that he was willing to come out to Rogers.”
Gardenhire focused his message on commitment, enthusiasm for the game of baseball, and in the spirit of Twins baseball, an emphasis on “doing the little things right.”
He fielded about a dozen questions from the players, ranging from the role of newly-signed reliever Joel Zumaya to the status of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, and discussed what he sees as the most important aspects of the game at the high school level.
Harapat, who became head coach this year after four years as an assistant, will bring in former Twins catcher Tim Laudner to instruct at his youth clinic on March 17-18. Laudner was part of the 1987 Twins who won the World Seriers, and was an all-star in 1988. Harapat’s staff for the clinic will also include varsity assistant Jeremy Hood, JV coach Ryan Gulden, and freshman coach Josh Rogahn.
“There is definitely a buzz of excitement about baseball in Rogers now,” Harapat said, “just 45 days from the start of tryouts for the 2012 season. We are all itching to get out on the field and start playing the game we love.”
Practices start March 19 and the opener is April 10 at Becker.