The Twins added three new coaches to the mix yesterday–Tom Brunansky, Terry Steinbach and Bobby Cuellar. Brunansky, affectionately known as Bruno at TCH headquarters, replaces Joe Vavra as infield instructor and third base coach. Bruno hit 271 HRs and was an integral part of the Twins 1987 World Series title. If you go back and look at the highlights, you can see Bruno chugging around the bases to score from first on a single from Steve Lombardozzi in the fifth inning of Game 6. The play at the plate was close, but Bruno was called safe and the Twins took the lead in Game 6 for good. They went on to defeat the Cardinals 4-2 in Game 7 for Minnesota’s first World Series Championship.
Bruno spent the past three seasons with the Twins’ Gulf Coast, Class AA and Class AAA teams. When asked about who he was replacing, Brunansky was ever-gracious towards Joe Vavro. “His knowledge, his experience with everything he’s done in his time here, he knows pitching staffs and how they try to get our guys out,” Brunansky said. “That’s the one thing I lack right now; I don’t know the league. I watch a little bit, and see some of the teams the Twins play, but I didn’t watch them the way I would now. I’ll definitely be in his ear.”
Joining Bruno is Terry Steinbach, who is a New Ulm, MN native and played 14 seasons in the big leagues, including when he won a World Series ring with the Oakland A’s and the Bash Brothers in 1989. Steinbach replaces Scott Ulger as bench coach, as well as taking of catchers coaching duties. He has spent the previous 13 seasons as a minor league instructor and has also been the assistant coach at Wayzata High School for the last five years. This will be his first full time major league coaching gig.
The final spot is filled by Bobby Cuellar, who is replacing Rick Stelsmaszek as the bullpen coach. Cuellar has been the pitching coach for the Red Wings’ for the last four seasons. Prior to that he was the pitching coach for a slew of major league teams, including the Rangers, Expos and Mariners.
While it’s fun to have Bruno back full time with the Twins, and hopefully his and Steinbach’s championship pedigree rubs off on these guys, these aren’t the moves that will change the Twins’ fate. They’ve been bad for two years and they’re still a long way from being good again.