Twins keeping hitting coach Brunansky on Molitor's staff
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins made their first addition to the 2015 coaching staff under new manager Paul Molitor, bringing back hitting coach Tom Brunansky on a one-year deal, the club announced Thursday.
Twins general manager Terry Ryan called the hire an easy one, and stated that it was a mutual decision between Molitor and himself. Ryan called Brunansky to inform him he'd be back just hours after Molitor's introductory news conference on Tuesday.
"This was a mutual decision," Ryan said. "I was hoping to bring Tom back. I thought we accomplished a lot last year, especially in the second half. Once we got Paul in the manager's chair, we started talking staff, and we both wanted Tom back."
Brunansky, 54, has been the Twins' hitting coach the last two seasons after serving in the same role for Triple-A Rochester in 2012 and Double-A New Britain in '11. But after Ron Gardenhire was dismissed as manager on Sept. 29, Brunansky's status was in limbo, along with the other coaches on the staff.
Brunansky, who played 14 seasons in the Majors -- including seven with the Twins -- said he was still under contract through December, so he couldn't reach out to try to find any other jobs. So he said it came as a relief the Twins decided to bring him back.
"I was happy and relieved," Brunansky said. "The phrase that Terry used 'of limbo' was absolutely correct. You're preparing to go to work, but you don't have anything there. But once Terry and I talked, my mind started thinking forward toward Spring Training."
The offense fared well for the Twins under Brunansky last season, ranking seventh in the Majors in runs scored with 715. Minnesota's .254 average ranked 11th, but its .324 on-base percentage was the fifth-best mark in the Majors.
"I was very pleased with what we accomplished offensively," Brunansky said. "My biggest challenge to them was to be more competitive. Not game to game or month to month. I wanted to compete pitch to pitch. I thought early in the year we gave up too many at-bats. But I told them to make every pitch count, and I felt like we did that for the most part. We were in the games and our boys battled."
With Brunansky now in the fold, the Twins still have six more coaches to hire, including a pitching coach and a bench coach. Ryan also said he hasn't made any decisions on whether any other coaches from last season will return in 2015.
"I'm not sure how quick or how long it's going to take to fill the rest of this staff," Ryan said. "But we're working on it daily."