Twins manager Gardenhire returns to home state after death in family

Updated: May 2, 2008, 7:43 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will miss the three-game weekend series against Detroit after his older brother died suddenly at his Oklahoma home.

Mike Gardenhire, 55, died on Thursday, prompting Ron Gardenhire to return to his home state to be with his family for the funeral.

The cause of death was not announced.

"He's going through a lot," said Twins third base coach Scott Ullger, who will fill in as manager in Gardenhire's absence. "He was really torn up about it. The suddenness of it all, you can't prepare for that."

Exactly when Gardenhire returns to the team has not been decided. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Ullger said Mike Gardenhire joined the Twins in Texas when they played the Rangers last weekend and visited with the players and coaches after the games.

"He looked fine to us," Ullger said. "It's a tragedy."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who has long spoke glowingly about Ron Gardenhire's gregarious personality and skills as a manager, said the entire Tigers organization was "deeply saddened" to hear the news.

"I have to offer our condolences from all the Tigers," Leyland said. "I'm going to miss seeing him this series. I love that guy. I think he's great."

After the weekend series with the Tigers, the Twins are off on Monday before starting a three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press