Ron Gardenhire gets 2-year deal

MINNEAPOLIS -- Ron Gardenhire isn't going anywhere as the Minnesota Twins announced a two-year contract extension with their veteran skipper Monday that runs through the 2015 season.

Gardenhire, who was in the final year of his contract, just completed his 12th season with the Twins and is the second-longest tenured manager in the big leagues.

With three straight seasons of at least 93 losses, Gardenhire's job was thought to be in jeopardy. Instead, the Twins brought back the 2010 AL manager of the year and his entire staff, too, keeping with their longstanding preference for stability at the top.

Gardenhire has a career record of 998-947 (.513) and trails only his predecessor, Tom Kelly, on the Twins' all-time win list (1,140). He led the team to the 2002 division title in his first three seasons and took them to the ALCS in his first year.

Gardenhire, who guided the Twins to six division titles in nine years, started to hear some grumbling from the Twins fan base in recent seasons. The Twins have been swept out of their last three appearances in the ALDS and have been nowhere close to competing over the last three years.

He made it clear, however, that he wanted to return.

"I like where I'm at," Gardenhire said before the Twins' final game of the season Sunday. "I'd rather be here."

Gardenhire met with general manager Terry Ryan on Sunday to discuss the direction of the team and the state of the organization. In bringing him back, Ryan is sending a message that the problem lies much more with the talent on the field, and particularly on the mound, than in the dugout.

"We have struggled. I'm the one who has given him the players, and I understand that," Ryan said last week. "We've got to have the talent for any manager or coach to succeed. But we know where we are and I think we've got a pretty good idea of where we are going, and I'm trying to take a lot of responsibility for what's going on with this record. I'm not pretending that he's got the most talented roster we have ever seen him have, so we've got a lot of work ahead of us."

Many of the key players in the clubhouse seem to agree.

"I don't think there's anyone else we want leading the team," closer Glen Perkins said Sunday. "There's no better guy to run this team, and I've said it once and will say it a thousand times, it's not his fault. He's doing the best he can with what he's given, and Terry's doing his best to give him more. I don't think that will stop. I think [Ryan] knows where we're deficient and will do what he can to rectify that."

All-Star catcher Joe Mauer, who missed the last 41 games of the season with a concussion, has never played for another manager in the big leagues, and he didn't want that to change.

"I don't think, really, whoever was managing would have made much of a difference," Mauer said. "Gardy's a great manager. He's managed some great teams here. He's a great leader and I hope to see him back here."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.