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Twins dismiss Brunansky, Davis as coaches

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Coming off a 103-loss season, hitting coach Tom Brunansky and first-base coach Butch Davis were dismissed Tuesday, Nov. 8, from the Twins' big-league coaching staff.

Minnesota Twins hitting coach Tom Brunansky works out prior to an Aug. 5 game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Twins hitting coach Tom Brunansky works out prior to an Aug. 5 game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Coming off a 103-loss season, hitting coach Tom Brunansky and first-base coach Butch Davis were dismissed Tuesday, Nov. 8, from the Twins' big-league coaching staff.

New chief baseball officer Derek Falvey announced the moves along with the decision to bring back the remaining five members of manager Paul Molitor's coaching staff. The decisions were made in consultation with Molitor and general manager Thad Levine.

"Bruno and Butch were great workers for the organization, but as we worked through and thought about the criteria and characteristics we wanted from our staff, we felt we wanted to upgrade in those two spots," Falvey said at the GM meetings. "We talked with both of them. They were incredibly professional, as I would have expected. They are high-class individuals from everything I have learned."

A young group of Twins hitters struggled with streakiness and an inability to lay off pitches out of the zone in 2016. The Twins finished ninth in the American League with 722 runs scored, and their 22.8 percent strikeout rate was third-worst in the AL.

"There wasn't necessarily anything specific on that front," Falvey said. "We didn't talk specifically about any one individual metric or anything like that. It was just collective approach to our hitting, and we wanted to make a change."

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Brunansky, 56, had been the Twins' big-league hitting coach the past four seasons. Starting right fielder for the Twins' 1987 World Series champions, Brunansky worked in the Twins' minor league system from 2010-12.

Davis, 58, oversaw baserunning and outfield defense for the Twins the past two seasons. A former big-league outfielder as well, Davis was hired to Molitor's first coaching staff after two decades as a coach and manager in the Baltimore Orioles system.

Miguel Sano's transition to right field was a flop, and the Twins' outfield ranked third worst in the majors in defensive runs saved (minus-30).

While assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez will be retained, Falvey said he will not be a candidate for Brunansky's former post. Former Washington Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein, hired in July as Twins minor league hitting coordinator, and Triple-A Rochester hitting coach Chad Allen would figure to be the top in-house candidates.

Falvey and Levine also made individual calls to Hernandez and the other coaches invited back. That included pitching coach Neil Allen, whose injury-marred staff sagged to a 5.09 earned-run average, tied for last in the majors.

Bench coach Joe Vavra, third-base coach Gene Glynn and bullpen coach Eddie Guardado also were invited back.

"The key was, across the board with every coach, setting a clear expectation for how we want to operate moving forward," Falvey said. "Each of the other guys expressed sincere interest in being part of that."

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