FORT MYERS, FLA.
The batting cages at Hammond Stadium come to life around 7 a.m. each day during spring training. Classic rock spills out of a sound system, mixing in with the crack of bats.
Tom Brunansky’s voice has become part of the daily vibe.
“Two bunts, Boggsy!” he yells to Brandon Boggs before flipping balls toward him.
“I want your hands to go through there,” Brunansky yells a few minutes later to Aaron Hicks. “You’re just a little quick. You’ll get to the stuff inside.”
These are the sounds of players trying to get better, sounds that Brunansky heard many times himself through a 14-year career, parts of seven that were spent with the Twins. After three years coaching Twins minor leaguers, Brunansky is the new Twins hitting coach following a staff shakeup at the end of the 2012 season. His predecessor, Joe Vavra, is now the third base coach.
Brunansky has spent spring training reconnecting with some of the players he has worked with in the past in the minors, such as Chris Parmelee and Joe Benson. Brunansky is also building relationships with former AL Most Valuable Players Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.
Brunansky’s energy and enthusiam are impossible to miss. His boisterous voice is also one of the most noticeable in the team’s clubhouse.
As Brunansky weaves his way through his first major league camp as a coach, he offers players the perspective of having been in their shoes. Of knowing what it’s like to succeed — as he did as the right fielder on the 1987 World Series champion Twins — and to fail.
“That’s true, and that is part of what I feel I can bring,” he says. “I’ve had the highs and had lows. I’ve reached the pinnacle of playing in the  World Series and winning it. I’ve lost in the playoffs. I have had down times. I’ve had some bad 0-fers. I’ve had some horrible months.
“I’ve been embarrassed. I’ve done some things, stupid stuff. There hasn’t been much I haven’t experienced. Been traded, sent down, have had issues as a high draft choice being arrogant and cocky.”
He hopes to call on all those experiences, the highs and the lows, to help turn around a franchise that has lost 195 games the past two seasons.
Back in the game
Back in the cage, Brunansky is flipping baseballs to Boggs, a nonroster invite to camp. He tells Boggs that he is throwing a pitch on the outside part of the plate but throws it on the inside corner. Boggs meets it squarely anyway.
“Your mind is thinking, ‘Out there,’ ” Brunansky tells him, “but you can react to the ball.”
The new hitting coach sounds convincing in his teaching.
|Detroit - LP: J. Mantiply||4||FINAL|
|NY Mets - WP: C. Torres||5|
|Pittsburgh||0||Bottom 1st Inning|
|Chicago||9||1st Qtr 4:55|
|Sacramento||11||1st Qtr 6:17|
|Utah||12||1st Qtr 5:28|
|Miami||13||1st Qtr 4:11|
|Toronto||13||1st Qtr 4:24|
|LA Lakers||7:00 PM|
|Columbus||1||1st Prd 10:13|
|Minnesota||0||1st Prd 10:32|
|Miss Valley St||75|
|Towson||45||2nd Half 11:10|
|Gardner-Webb||54||2nd Half 8:30|
|Samford||44||2nd Half 12:24|
|Northern Ill||6||1st Half 11:25|
|Bowling Green||6||1st Half 12:24|
|Brown||19||1st Half 10:23|
|Toledo||14||1st Half 10:22|
|Akron||12||1st Half 10:07|
|Ill-Chicago||6||1st Half 10:09|
|Miami-Ohio||10||1st Half 13:00|
|Columbia||5||1st Half 10:11|
|Cornell||15||1st Half 9:19|
|Central Mich||8||1st Half 13:51|
|Bradley||5||1st Half 11:31|
|Morehead State||6:30 PM|
|Coll of Charleston||7:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||8:00 PM|
|Loyola Marymount||10:30 PM|
|(21) George Washington||77|
|(3) South Carolina||58|
|East Tenn St||66|
|(2) Notre Dame||77|
|(9) Arizona State||67|
|Miss Valley St||51|
|(18) Texas A&M||65||FINAL|
|Virginia Tech||23||2nd Half 11:42|
|(7) Florida State||61|
|SMU||27||2nd Half 20:00|
|Lehigh||56||2nd Half 10:40|
|Rhode Island||14||1st Half 11:35|
|North Florida||4||1st Half 11:49|
|(20) Fla Gulf Coast||21|
|Kennesaw St||7||1st Half 12:14|
|USC Upstate||4||1st Half 12:49|
|Lipscomb||10||1st Half 10:40|
|Nebraska||22||1st Half 11:21|
|Saint Peters||13||1st Half 9:21|
|Navy||14||1st Half 13:21|
|Lafayette||13||1st Half 12:00|
|Colgate||6||1st Half 11:16|
|Georgia||4||1st Half 11:!6|
|Dartmouth||17||1st Half 8:17|
|Penn||9||1st Half 12:12|
|(13) Princeton||33||1st Half 6:18|
|Kansas||3||1st Half 11:37|
|Harvard||27||1st Half 6:19|
|(15) North Carolina||7:00 PM|
|San Jose St||7:00 PM|
|Utah State||8:00 PM|
|(8) Oregon State|
|New Mexico||8:00 PM|
|(12) Kentucky||8:25 PM|
|(11) Miss State|
|San Diego State||8:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||8:30 PM|
|Boise State||9:00 PM|
Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?