The Twins officially named James Rowson hitting coach on Friday. Rowson replaces Tom Brunansky, who was not retained on manager Paul Molitor’s staff.

Rowson, 40, was minor league hitting coordinator for the Yankees the past three seasons, a position he also held from 2008-11.

He was the Cubs’ hitting coach for portions of 2012 and 2013.

“For me, it’s about building relationships with players and doing a lot of listening,” said Rowson. “I want to hear what they are thinking and move on from there. You want to build a partnership with each player.”

Rowson played four seasons in the minor leagues for the Mariners and Yankees after being drafted by Seattle in the ninth round in 1994. The native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., also has been Cubs minor league hitting coordinator and also worked in the Angels organization.

Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said the candidates for the hitting coach job were all external, but declined to name other finalists.

Smith to leave

Long time Twins executive Bill Smith is leaving the organization to pursue other interests.

Smith has been with the Twins since 1986 in a variety of roles, most notably when he took over GM duties from 2008-11 when Ryan stepped aside. Smith was in charge when the club moved to Target Field in 2010, the last year the Twins were in the playoffs. He was criticized for some of his moves, but it was during his watch as GM when the club landed international prospects Miguel Sano, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco in 2009.

Smith will remain with the club through Jan. 31.