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.
|Philadelphia||12/20/14 3:30 PM|
|San Diego||12/20/14 7:25 PM|
|Minnesota||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Baltimore||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Atlanta||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Green Bay||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|New England||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|NY Giants||12/21/14 3:05 PM|
|Buffalo||12/21/14 3:25 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/21/14 3:25 PM|
|Seattle||12/21/14 7:30 PM|
|Denver||12/22/14 7:30 PM|
|Portland||101||1st OT 0:52|
|LA Clippers||70||3rd Qtr 2:53|
|Oklahoma City||0||1st Qtr 10:22|
|Case Western Reserve||65||FINAL|
|UC Santa Barbara||69|
|Central Penn College||65||FINAL|
|William & Mary||86|
|Fla Gulf Coast||83|
|South Dakota St||53||FINAL|
|TX-Pan American||51||2nd Half 4:50|
|Colorado State||78||2nd Half 0:48|
|Alabama A&M||46||2nd Half 1:11|
|Ark-Pine Bluff||44||2nd Half 5:11|
|Eastern Wash||24||1st Half 3:38|
|Idaho State||20||1st Half 3:43|
|Nevada||12/20/14 10:00 AM|
|Utah State||12/20/14 1:20 PM|
|(23) Utah||12/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Western Mich||12/20/14 4:45 PM|
|South Alabama||12/20/14 8:15 PM|
|BYU||12/22/14 1:00 PM|
|Marshall||12/23/14 5:00 PM|
|Navy||12/23/14 8:30 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Central Mich||12/24/14 11:00 AM|
|Fresno State||12/24/14 7:00 PM|
|Illinois||12/26/14 12:00 PM|
|Rutgers||12/26/14 3:30 PM|
|NC State||12/26/14 7:00 PM|
|East Tenn St||48||FINAL|
|Fla Gulf Coast||69|
|(6) North Carolina||65||FINAL|
|Long Beach St||85|
|Miss Valley St||39||FINAL|
|(16) Oregon State||67||2nd Half 2:21|
|Pacific||28||1st Half 7:12|
|New Mexico St||13|
|No Dakota State||35||2nd Half|
|Cal State Fullerton||45|
|Utah State||39||1st Half 0:23|
|Bethesda (CA)||17||1st Half 5:50|
|Utah Valley U||21||2nd Half|
|LSU||2||1st Half 17:05|
|UC Santa Barbara||2|