Departure of Minnesota Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson, reportedly for same position with LSU Tigers

Departure of Minnesota Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson, reportedly for same position with LSU Tigers

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson has told the club he will be quitting his job this week, reportedly for the same role at LSU.

Johnson traveled with the team Sunday night to Cleveland, where he will stay for the scheduled five-game series through Thursday, Twins spokesman Dustin Morse said.

Johnson has accepted the pitching coach job at LSU, according to a report from D1Baseball.com on Twitter. LSU spokesman Bill Franques said the Tigers plan to announce a new pitching coach on Monday, though he did not identify the hire.

The twins have not confirmed Johnson’s destination. Further announcements from the club regarding the personnel change will take place this week. The Athletic reported that Johnson would receive a significant raise.

The mid-season move of a key assistant from a first-place team was surprising, but Johnson’s arrival in 2019 was also unusual. He was the first college pitching coach in four decades to go straight to the major leagues when the Twins signed him from Arkansas, which was the 2018 College World Series national runner-up.

Johnson, 50, spent nine seasons as a college pitching coach before the Twins selected him with a keen eye on his biomechanical background. He holds a master’s degree in kinesiology.

Johnson, an Atlanta native who kept an off-season home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, also stopped by Mississippi State, Dallas Baptist and central Arkansas. He was a high school coach before entering the college ranks.

Johnson chaired the pitching teams for division-champion teams in his first two years, and the Twins returned to the top of the AL Central this season. They lead the Guardians by two games entering their key series this week. Minnesota has a team ERA of 3.78, which ranks 11th in the majors. The Twins ranked 26th in the ERA last year, fourth in 2020 and ninth in 2019 while Johnson was in charge of personnel.

Twins pitchers have regularly praised Johnson’s energy, positivity and wisdom, as recently as Saturday night when Chris Archer pitched five shutout innings with one hit allowed Colorado.

“Wes is one of my biggest defenders,” Archer said after the 6-0 win at Target Field. “We do a lot of work, mental and physical, between starts.”

LSU is a longtime powerhouse in college baseball. The Tigers are one of only three schools to have won six national championships, all of which were accumulated between 1991 and 2009. They have appeared in the College World Series 18 times, most recently in 2017.

Coach Jay Johnson just completed his freshman season at LSU, which went 40-22 and was eliminated by Southern Mississippi in their NCAA region’s final game, and is already losing two members of his team to promotions. somewhere else.

Assistant coach and scouting coordinator Dan Fitzgerald was hired as the head coach at Kansas. Pitching coach Jason Kelly was hired as the head coach at the University of Washington.

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