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Monday, December 3
Updated: December 4, 1:14 PM ET
Molitor won't wait to learn Twins' future

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Bench coach Paul Molitor has withdrawn as a candidate to manage the Minnesota Twins amid uncertainty over whether the team will be eliminated next season.

"He feels the situation's so unsettled that he'd rather not be involved with it right now," Ron Simon, Molitor's agent, said Tuesday.

Molitor was considered a top candidate, along with third base coach Ron Gardenhire, to succeed the retired Tom Kelly.

Molitor is even "leaning against" returning to the team as a coach, presuming the new manager would want him, because of the possibilities of contraction, a players strike or a lockout, Simon said.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan declined to talk about Molitor's withdrawal on Tuesday.

"We still have a couple to choose from," Ryan said, apparently referring to Gardenhire and hitting coach Scott Ullger. Florida coaches Lynn Jones and Fredi Gonzales and Yankees coach Willie Randolph are no longer being considered, he said.

"We're in a holding pattern. It's like we're flying around Minnesota and can't land," said Gardenhire, a Twins coach since 1991.

Ullger, on the coaching staff since the 1995 season, said he is still in the race.

"All I'm concerned about is playing next year," Ullger said. "I don't care about nothing else. We've got to have one more chance to win."

The Twins have said they will not name a manager until they know whether the team will play next season.

Baseball owners voted Nov. 6 to fold two teams before next season, with the Twins and the Montreal Expos the likely candidates. An injunction forces the Twins to play in 2002, and the team's appeal won't be heard until Dec. 27.

The Star Tribune reported Tuesday that Molitor had recently declined interviews for managing positions in Toronto and Anaheim. Simon said he wasn't aware of those possibilities.

"He has no interest in any other club, I'll tell you that," Simon said of Molitor, a St. Paul native. "If he goes with anyone, it'll be the Twins."

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