White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

January 20, 2010

Joey Cora and Greg Walker approve of Gordon Beckham

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 20, 2010 7:56 pm
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Cora has already given the thumbs up on the work that Beckham put in last week. Especially after the third day of the three-day voluntary mini-camp.

“I feel like I got where I wanted to be in those three days,’’ Beckham said. “All I need to do at second base is relax. Joey was happy after the third day. He mentioned it was all worth it because of that third day.

“The main thing is the double-play feeds around the bag. Make sure you’re quiet with the feet and always going toward first base on the throws. But you can bet we’ll be out there before every home game doing a lot of early work. I think I should be very good by the time we get to June. I don’t see it being a problem.’’

His swing sure wasn’t.

Beckham, who hit .270 with 14 home runs, 28 doubles and 63 RBI in 103 games, also worked in the cage with hitting coach Greg Walker in Miami.

“Gordon looked like Gordon,’’ Walker said. “His swing is fairly low maintenance. It’s about the mental battle for Gordon. His big challenge now is to move over to second base and understand that mental battle of a long season.’’ …


January 19, 2010

Greg Walker reports Alex Rios is A-OK

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 19, 2010 12:36 am
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I’m so relieved!

Five swings.

That’s all it took for Greg Walker to take a deep sigh of relief and realize that the enigma looked to be back to an All-Star.

No holes. No mechanical flaws. No signs of a player who was carrying the weight of the South Side on his shoulders.

… ”But to be honest, it took the first five swings in the cage to show me that he had passed the eye test. Mechanically, this is the Alex Rios I saw on tape when he was in Toronto.”

… ”There were some that felt we needed to change his mechanics,” Walker said. ”I wasn’t in that camp. I don’t think he needs a change mechanically. We tried to attack the problems that developed late last season, but when that didn’t work, we decided, ‘Well, let’s just give him some time off.’ My hope was that the time away would be what he needed, and the two or three things he developed would disappear.”

November 3, 2009

Mark Gonzales talks Sox

Liptak (11/1/09):

Mark Liptak: What does Kenny look at when he figures out what to do this off season?

Mark Gonzales: “As I figured it out the Sox have 10 players going to make 71.5 million next season and that includes Dayan Viciedo who I think will be with the team at some point next year. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this off season Kenny moved some guys to give him more dollars to work with.”

“Kenny remember, and this is important, is a man of action, not reaction. It’ll be interesting to see how patient Kenny will be especially if the free agent market again tilts in favor of the buyer. I look for Kenny to aggressively improve the team through trades but he’ll also keep in mind some possible free agent bargains that could be out there.” …

A lot more at the link: Swisher, Walker, BA, Ozzie, Kenny, Vazquez, Betemit, Reinsdorf, Byddy Bell and much more.

BTW, I clicked Joe Cowley’s interview (4/12/09) and Cowley says that Reinsdorf’s son “doesn’t want to run the White Sox.” Interesting…

October 28, 2009

Greg Walker: ‘If I was in a normal situation I probably would have been fired’

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ October 28, 2009 7:21 pm
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Greg Walker tries to understand why he’s still listed as the Sox hitting coach:

“Look, I know if I was in a normal situation I probably would have been fired after this year. But I also know that we have accomplished a lot. I know that if you watch this game on a daily basis there are things to point fingers at because this is a game of failure. I think over the years we built up a enough good will and accomplished things that people don’t realize. But we have underachieved the last few years. I think [general manager] Kenny [Williams], [manager] Ozzie [Guillen] and [board chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] know the reasons, and they know I’m the right man for the job. Last year happened and it would have cost a lot of hitting coaches their jobs, but there is a lot of trust there. I don’t take that lightly. I’ve done this for seven years and I think for those seven years we’ve underachieved two of them. Even those years we did underachieve we went about our business the right way. When they decide it’s someone else’s turn then it will be someone else’s job.” …

DeLuca says Walker along with Joey Cora, Don Cooper and Harold Baines got two-year contract extensions (2010 and 2011).

October 14, 2009

Jaramillo available

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ October 14, 2009 3:50 pm
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Dallas-raised Rudy Jaramillo, the Rangers hitting instructor for the last 15 seasons, has turned down the club’s one-year contract offer and is preparing to explore the free agent market after his contract expires October 31.

For some unexplainable reason Walker’s contract was renewed though.

October 6, 2009

Hitting coach available

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ October 6, 2009 2:48 am


“The Tampa Bay Rays have fired hitting coach Steve Henderson following a season in which the Rays set team records for runs, home runs, on-base percentage and walks.”

We could use a hitting coach!

September 23, 2009

All Sox coaches sign extensions to 2011?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 23, 2009 7:56 pm
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Minutes after Williams spoke, a source confirmed that all of the coaches that had contracts up after this season — specifically hitting coach Greg Walker, pitching coach Don Cooper, bench coach Joey Cora and first base coach Harold Baines — had or were in the process of signing extensions thought to take the staff through 2011.

There were whispers that Williams recently signed an extension that will keep him the Sox GM through 2012 — the same length of Ozzie Guillen’s deal — but Williams replied in a text that he would not comment on that.

September 21, 2009

Paul Konerko interview

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 21, 2009 1:17 pm
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Q: How similar are Jim Thome and Frank Thomas as hitters?

A: With the end result, they’re very similar, because they’re both very dangerous guys that can carry a ballclub. They do kind of go about it a little differently. Frank was obviously a right-handed hitter, and his numbers simply don’t lie. And he had really good at-bats. But, you know, that’s a tough question. Their numbers are very similar. They both walk a lot and hit a lot of homers, so… you know, now that I think about it, I guess they’re pretty damn similar. I’ll say this: hitting aside, both of them, with their preparation and how they got ready to play each night, you can see why they’re both future Hall of Famers. They’re people who have done so much in their careers, but even though they’ve hit 500 home runs, and won MVP Awards, and played in All-Star Games, they still approached every game as if they hadn’t done anything. That’s another way in which they’re similar. There was never any complacency. Every time they took the field, they’d get after it as if they were hungry to do more, and that gets you a lot of respect. With what they’ve done in their careers, it would be easy not to do that.

September 14, 2009

Walker to wait until spring training to make any changes on Rios’ swing

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 14, 2009 7:20 pm
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Rios said hitting coach Greg Walker has been reviewing his stance and doesn’t want to alter his swing. “If he wants to make any changes, he’ll wait until spring training,” Rios said.

Will Greg Walker be the Sox hitting coach in the next spring training?

The article also has the opinions of a couple of scouts on Rios.

September 13, 2009

Greg Walker thinks Alex Rios has mechanical problems

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 13, 2009 7:40 pm
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Everyone involved with the White Sox organization has their opinions on what’s wrong with Alex Rios. From manager Ozzie Guillen insisting that the outfielder had never been moved to a different team before so tried donning a cape and playing Superman when he came over, to hitting coach Greg Walker talking about a guy that has now become overwhelmed with mechanical problems.

Mechanical problems? Let’s see what Walker does. Ozzie Guillen doesn’t sound thrilled:

”This year has been a very unusual situation. Every time we’re in a slump, it’s everybody. You’re not going to take anything away from the pitching staffs that we’ve faced, but we’ve been facing some pitchers this year, it’s like, ‘Who the [hell] is this guy? They don’t even belong in the [expletive] big leagues, and they just kicked our ass.’ I’m not going to lie. I know who beat us, and I know who should beat us. We’ve faced some guys where they’ve called him up, faced us and get him back to [expletive] Double-A, get the [hell] out of here. That’s how bad we’ve been.”

More Ozzie:

And with six of their final nine games against the Tigers, manager Ozzie Guillen believes the White Sox can still compete for the division title if his four veteran hitters heat up down the stretch. “We got Carlos [Quentin], we have [Alex] Rios, PK [Paul Konerko] and JD [Jermaine Dye], almost in the same way,” Guillen said. “I think if two out of those four guys get hot, I think it’s going be interesting. Because if we play the way we play right now with those guys hot, that means we can do some damage.”

August 6, 2009

Greg Walker on Jim Thome

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ August 6, 2009 2:59 pm
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Walker believes Thome has another two or three years left of 30-home run, 100-RBI production, as long as his back allows him to get on the field. Thome believes the same, and it’s that thought process setting Thome apart from other talented players, in Walker’s estimation. “Physically, he’s still an absolute monster. Just a genetically gifted guy,” Walker said. “But the biggest thing that makes him special is his ability to believe in himself and his mental strength. He has strengths and weaknesses, and there are going to be times when he strikes out. But he doesn’t give into it or panic. He stays the course. He’s a very unique Hall of Fame player.”

July 15, 2009

Roger Bossard seen applying Drano on the Cell’s basepaths

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ July 15, 2009 7:11 pm
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Mark Gonzales:

Quentin could return to the Sox’s lineup as soon as Friday night against Baltimore. In his last rehab appearance Tuesday night for Class-A Kannapolis, he went 0-for-1 with two walks and played six innings in left field.

Given the fact that he has a foot injury and that Jermaine Dye has stabilized the third spot he once occupied, Quentin could hit somewhere lower in the order to prevent clogging the base paths.

July 12, 2009

Gordon Beckham adjusting to the big leagues

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ July 12, 2009 1:42 pm
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“I made some adjustments, loosening up my hands so I wouldn’t put as much stress on my shoulders. It was all a mind thing. If you don’t have a strong mind or will, this game will bury you pretty quick.”

White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker said those adjustments were not “technical” in nature, but related to how he was expending himself.

“He was playing college ball at this time last year, and he came up here in the middle of some of the most intense games we’ll probably play all year,” Walker said. “We just told him to relax more because he was too tight, and the effort level was too high. Nobody was panicking, and we weren’t about to change anything because we had plenty of confidence in him. …

July 9, 2009

Greg Walker approves of this Gordon Beckham guy

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ July 9, 2009 5:51 pm
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Paul Ladewski:

Barely more than a month into his rookie season, it’s much too early to make career predictions for 22-year-old Gordon Beckham, the White Sox third baseman. But hitting coach Greg Walker already sees more than a faint resemblance to Michael Young, the Texas Rangers third baseman and one-time American League batting champion.

“In body type, natural talent and position, they’re similar,” Walker said before the game Wednesday against Cleveland. “Their swings are a bit different, but there are a lot of things that are alike about them. …

July 8, 2009

Paul Konerko on his hitting approach

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ July 8, 2009 10:48 pm
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Paulie says he doesn’t go to the plate looking to go deep:

“You’ve got to watch out because if you try to get too greedy up there, this game has a way of coming back at you and flipping you over and turning around on you,” Konerko said. “I think I had a good approach last night, which was not to try to hit homers and just keep doing that. “Homers come and go. They come in bunches. They’re like bananas. That’s how you’ve got to treat them. It’s frustrating when you’re not getting them, but just to be productive and get on base, drive in a run here in there, score a run here and there, that’s the goal.” … “Walk (hitting coach Greg Walker) and Gelly (assistant hitting coach Mike Gellinger) really stay on top of us to hit the ball hard and to use right center and right field, because when this field is playing well and jumping, you can hit balls out to right field as easy as to left,” Konerko said. “If you keep that approach, usually you wind up hitting some to left, so I think that’s the way to go.”

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