- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- With the World Series over, the Chicago White Sox were able to make two pending moves official Thursday, announcing they had exercised the contract option on reliever Matt Lindstrom and brought aboard Todd Steverson as hitting coach.
Steverson, 41, spent the past 10 seasons in the Oakland Athletics' organization, including a role as the major league first base coach for two seasons starting in 2009. The past two seasons he was the A's roving minor league hitting instructor.
His hitting mantra is simple: Know the strike zone and be aggressive on your pitch in the zone.
"Have a good educated plan and attack when you go to the plate," Steverson said Thursday. "Put yourself into good, solid position to recognize pitches, recognize strikes, and lay off balls to continue your at-bat."
His philosophy fits into the White Sox's overall goal of improving their on-base percentage while not completely sacrificing an aggressive approach.
"Hitting is confidence and belief with an ability to react and execute accordingly," Steverson said. "Believe in that confidence and what you came up there to do. A hitter's job is to swing at strikes, and a pitcher's job is to throw strikes. So, take a walk when presented to you, but don't go up looking for a walk."
Steverson replaces Jeff Manto, who was let go during the last weekend of the season after two years on the job. The Los Angeles native was a 25th-round draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and played in 31 career big league games for the Detroit Tigers (1995) and San Diego Padres (1996).
Steverson has plenty of work to do with a White Sox team that finished dead last in runs scored in the American League with 598. Their team batting average of .249 was 11th in the league, but things were even worse with a .302 on-base percentage that was 14th in the 15-team league and a .378 slugging percentage that was 13th.
The White Sox have made two significant moves since the middle of the season to address their offensive doldrums. Outfielder Avisail Garcia was added in a three-team trade in July that sent Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox, and Cuban slugger Jose Abreu was officially added this week.
Lindstrom made a team-high 76 appearances, six more than any other reliever on the team. He posted a 3.12 ERA over 60 2/3 innings and delivered twice as many strikeouts (46) than walks (23).
The White Sox could have bought out the final year of his deal at $500,000 but will instead keep him at a base salary of $4 million. There is another $2.25 million available in performance bonuses that is based on games finished.
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