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Twins' Molitor recognized by AL managers

MINNEAPOLIS -- After nearly leading the surprising Twins to the postseason in his first year at the helm, Paul Molitor was named the Sporting News 2015 American League Manager of the Year on Tuesday.

The award is voted on by 27 Major League managers and has been given out since 1936. He joins Sam Mele (1965), Tom Kelly ('91) and Ron Gardenhire (2004, '10) as Twins managers who have won the award.

Molitor replaced Gardenhire, who was dismissed after Minnesota lost at least 92 games in four straight seasons. But Molitor helped turn around the Twins, as they won 83 games and weren't eliminated from the postseason until the second-to-last day of the season. Molitor said during his introductory news conference he believed the Twins were ready to be a competitive club despite the outside expectations and he turned out to be correct.

Molitor, a Minnesota native who had a 21-year Hall of Fame playing career, had the respect of his players and a strong attention to details. It was his first year as a manager at any level but he had previously served as a coach for both the Twins and Mariners, and was a roving Minor League instructor for Minnesota.

Molitor, along with veteran Torii Hunter, who retired on Monday, helped transform the clubhouse and instilled a winning mentality after the Twins struggled over the previous four seasons.

Molitor received five votes from AL managers, beating out Astros skipper A.J. Hinch, who received three votes and Rangers manager Jeff Banister and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who each received two votes. The voting was conducted before the postseason.

The BBWAA Managers of the Year will be announced on Nov. 17 on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.
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