White Sox to name McEwing third-base coach
Parent will also join Ventura's coaching staff for 2012 season
CHICAGO -- When the White Sox managerial job first opened up after Ozzie Guillen was let out of his contract to pursue other opportunities during the last week of the 2011 season, the name Joe McEwing frequently was mentioned as a replacement.
McEwing, who turns 39 in nine days, earned rave reviews for his work the past year as the Triple-A Charlotte manager and during his four seasons as part of the organization. His style was appreciated by the young players who could hold featured roles for the White Sox in 2012 and the veterans who did injury rehab stints with the Knights.
Ultimately, the managerial job went to Robin Ventura, the organizational icon who embarks on his first professional coaching or managerial job at any level. But McEwing, who's currently managing the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, also appears headed for a big league promotion.
The man known as "Super Joe" during his nine-year playing career, which crossed over with Ventura as part of the Mets in 2000 and '01, will be named as the new White Sox third-base coach, according to numerous published reports. Mark Parent, who the White Sox received permission from the Phillies to talk with, also reportedly will join Ventura's first staff.
The White Sox have not confirmed or commented on the reports.
Parent, 50, was serving as manager for the Double-A Reading Phillies after holding the same job for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. The one-time catcher played 13 big league seasons for the Padres, Orioles, Phillies, Cubs, Pirates, Rangers and Tigers, and is assumed to be taking over for Joey Cora as the White Sox bench coach.
That move has not been formalized, though, with general manager Ken Williams talking about returning coach Harold Baines playing a bigger role in the direction of the team. Baines, who begins his ninth year on the White Sox coaching staff, spent the 2004 and '05 seasons as the team's bench coach.
With Ventura's inexperience, the White Sox were thought to be looking for a former manager or long-time coach to serve as bench coach. But director of player development Buddy Bell, who worked with Ventura last year in the White Sox Minor League system, said that an experienced addition isn't necessary with an astute baseball mind such as Ventura.
As an example, Bell spoke of when he was brought in as a bench coach for Eric Wedge when Wedge became manager of the Indians. The object was to give Wedge an experienced sounding board or some in-game guidance.
After Wedge quickly got his managerial feet under him, Bell admitted there wasn't much for him to do.
"There will be critics saying he didn't manage before, and there's going to be a little bit of a transitional period," Bell said. "But it's not going to take him long.
"It's hard to explain to somebody never in that position. It's a very important job. It's a job where you have to be on top of things and be aware of your players and what they are going through, and what they need at that particular time. But the strategic part of the game is what it is.
"He's going to make decisions he was making every day as a player, but he just didn't know it," Bell said. "I understand the concern, sort of. But with guys like Ventura, and guys that are like him, that's the last thing to worry about."
Baines, pitching coach Don Cooper, bullpen coach Juan Nieves, head athletic trainer Herm Schneider, assistant athletic trainer Brian Ball, director of conditioning Allen Thomas and bullpen catcher Mark Salas will return from the 2011 coaching staff. Finding a replacement for hitting coach Greg Walker is the last order of business for Ventura.
Tim Laker, the team's hitting coach at Triple-A Charlotte in 2011, and Jeff Manto, the organization's Minor League hitting coordinator for the past four years, stand out as the top two candidates. Laker, 41, was instrumental in the development of young standouts such as Dayan Viciedo, Tyler Flowers and Alejandro De Aza, development that carried over to the big league level but was not apparent before he arrived.
Manto, 47, served as the Pirates hitting coach in 2006-07. Ventura will be introduced as the White Sox 39th manager during an 11 a.m. CT press conference on Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field.