Monday, October 31, 2011
White Sox fill out coaching staff
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox made it official on the first business day following the completion of the World Series by naming Mark Parent, Jeff Manto and Joe McEwing to the coaching staff of new manager Robin Ventura.
Parent will assume the bench coach duties from Joey Cora, while Manto was named the hitting coach to replace Greg Walker, who resigned from his post on the last day of the season. McEwing was named third-base coach to replace Jeff Cox.
Only Manto has major league coaching experience, working for two seasons as the hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006 and 2007. Ventura scoffed at the notion that it would be a hindrance moving forward.
"I don't worry about it so much when people start bringing up experience," Ventura said. "If we were expected to go out and play I'd be worried about it, but it's all about the players. I think the energy of all these (coaches) and knowledge of the game, I look at it as a positive."
Parent, 50, was a manager in the Phillies organization the past two seasons, taking both of his clubs to the playoffs. The 13-year major leaguer was named Baseball America's top manager prospect in the Eastern League for his work at Double-A Redding this past season.
As Ventura's right-hand man, Parent might have as much to say as anybody when it comes to the style of play the White Sox exhibit. Parent insists, though, that everything will run in Ventura's vision.
"Run downs, bunts, hit-and-run, outfield relays, all those things will be what Robin has a feel for how he wants them done," Parent said. "He's the manager and will mandate how he wants it done to make sure it's his way of managing and that the fundamentals are carried out."
Parent has no doubt that Ventura will be just fine as a first-year manager.
"He not afraid to fail and that's what a lot of people don't understand," Parent said. "When a player gets done playing the game, we're still the same people. We're not afraid to make mistakes and throw our hat into the ring and go for it. It's part of his makeup of a guy that has gone through the wars."
Manto, 47, has spent the last four seasons as the White Sox's minor league hitting coordinator following five seasons as a coach in the Pirates organization. He played nine seasons with eight different teams.
Manto's belief is that hitting is at least 90 percent mental and instead of setting goals over 500 at-bats he will break them down to a series-by-series basis or even nightly.
Manto said he expects to start a dialog with players in the upcoming days and will make it a priority to reach out to guys who struggled last season like Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.
"One thing I will bring to the table is communicating and making these guys aware of what they were trying do," Manto said. "Stats, and wins and losses, are a byproduct of a good approach. I just want to find out what they are thinking, to create a dialog to maybe change their thought process about what they are doing."
McEwing, 39, has worked with the White Sox's development system the past four seasons, including last season as the manager at Triple-A Charlotte. He is currently the manager of the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. He batted .251 over nine major league seasons.
Known for his infectious energy that earned him the nickname "Super Joe," McEwing's belief is that success can sometimes be achieved by taking risks.
"There is so much that goes into [coaching third base], where you are in the order, who is on deck how many outs, that usually dictated what happens," McEwing said. "I was always told if you don't get anybody thrown out you're not doing your job."
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.