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Twins promote Leo to head athletic trainer

MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins continue to add to their medical staff heading into the 2018 season, promoting Tony Leo to head athletic trainer after the retirement of Dave Pruemer and hiring Masamichi Abe and Matt Biancuzzo as assistant athletic trainers.

Additionally, Perry Castellano will remain in his role as strength and conditioning coach, and Erik Beiser was promoted to assistant strength and conditioning coach. Chad Jackson returns as the Minor League medical coordinator, while Ian Kadish was named Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator. Axel Lopez will serve his first year as the organization's Latin American medical coordinator.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins continue to add to their medical staff heading into the 2018 season, promoting Tony Leo to head athletic trainer after the retirement of Dave Pruemer and hiring Masamichi Abe and Matt Biancuzzo as assistant athletic trainers.

Additionally, Perry Castellano will remain in his role as strength and conditioning coach, and Erik Beiser was promoted to assistant strength and conditioning coach. Chad Jackson returns as the Minor League medical coordinator, while Ian Kadish was named Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator. Axel Lopez will serve his first year as the organization's Latin American medical coordinator.

"I think what impressed me most about Tony is that I see him as a tremendous blend of the work ethic, tradition and loyalty of the Minnesota Twins coupled with a cutting edge, progressive, intellectual curiosity," Twins general manager Thad Levine said. "That can now be unveiled and unleashed. He has a vision of what our medical and training program can become."

The Twins have put emphasis on improving their medical staff this offseason, as new pitching coach Garvin Alston has a background in helping injured pitchers, while senior analyst Josh Kalk is considered an expert in injury-prevention studies and modeling.

"We're excited about the buildout of that entire group," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said. "Not just Josh, but Garvin with his history of working with rehab pitchers and understanding that space. In Josh's case, with our medical staff, we're trying to put as many resources around our pitching development as possible. It'll help us both manage injuries and give us a chance to optimize our pitchers' development."

Minnesota recently signed right-hander Michael Pineda, who underwent Tommy John surgery in July, and the Twins will assist him with his rehab until he's ready to return, which is likely not until September at the earliest. The Twins also signed reliever Zach Duke to a one-year deal this offseason, and he returned from Tommy John surgery in July.

Among their current pitchers, Trevor May is returning from Tommy John surgery in March, while Phil Hughes is coming off a second rib surgery to alleviate the symptoms stemming from thoracic outlet syndrome. Among position players, Miguel Sano underwent surgery to insert a titanium rod in his left shin in November.

The Twins also remain interested in free-agent right-handers Yu Darvish, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, who all have returned successfully from Tommy John surgery.

Leo has been in the organization for 21 years, including seven as assistant athletic trainer. Abe worked as a Minor League athletic trainer for the D-backs for seven years, while Biancuzzo served as performance medicine therapist and athletic trainer for Cirque du Soleil from 2010-17.

Castellano is returning to the Twins for his 19th season, including his 12th as strength and conditioning coach. Beiser has been in the organization for eight years, including the past five as Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

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