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Archive for Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Minnesota skipper ribs Orosco

New Twins reliever older than manager

September 2, 2003

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— After the Twins traded with the New York Yankees for veteran left-hander Jesse Orosco late Sunday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire called and left a message for his newest, oldest pitcher.

"I said this is your new manager and younger friend," said Gardenhire, a minor-league and big-league teammate of Orosco's in the New York Mets organization.

Orosco, who turned 46 in April, is six months older than Gardenhire, and he's older than two Twins coaches (Steve Liddle and Al Newman). He's also older than the team president, the chief financial officer, the vice president of operations, vice president of marketing and assistant general manager Bill Smith.

He and Gardenhire were minor league roommates. He and pitching coach Rick Anderson were teammates.

All of which is just part of the territory for the oldest active major leaguer. His manager in San Diego earlier this season, Bruce Bochy, also is a former teammate, and his Yankees manager, Joe Torre, was his first big-league manager--with the Mets in 1979.

"You play long enough, those things are going to happen," said Orosco, who joined the Twins about game time Monday afternoon and settled into a locker stall next to Anderson's. "I just want to see if he (Gardenhire) is going to get on me now. It's pretty fun to be back together with him (and) Rick Anderson."

The age jokes are getting, well, old for Orosco, who has been getting them for about a decade, another inevitability with such longevity. But "it doesn't bother me at all," he said.

Good thing for him, because he'll have a month or more of them if the Twins get what they hope from the lefty they acquired for a player to be named.

"He hasn't changed much," general manager Terry Ryan said. "He's still got enough velocity and got that wide breaking ball to negate lefties."

Orosco, who pitched against the Twins twice in June while with the Padres, is expected to be used primarily as a situational lefty and occasionally to pitch an inning at a time. He also is expected to provide a strong veteran influence for some younger pitchers.

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