Manager Pedro Grifol believes the Chicago White Sox have added “2 1/2” hitting coaches to their staff.
Jose Castro, who spent the last eight seasons with the Atlanta Braves, is the team’s new hitting coach. The Sox have assigned Chris Johnson from Triple-A Charlotte to the position of assistant hitting coach.
“And let’s not forget that Mike Tosar was hired as well,” Grifol said during a video conference call. “He’s a major league field coordinator, but he’s going to do some hitting as well. When it comes to hitting, it’s almost likely a 2 1/2 headed monster.”
Grifol and general manager Rick Hahn discussed personnel Tuesday.
Eddie Rodriguez takes over as third base coach and Daryl Boston returns as first base coach. Jeff Head is Senior Director of Sports Performance.
The Sox previously announced Charlie Montoya as the bench coachwith Ethan Katz and Kurt Hassler returning as pitching and bullpen coaches.
“We’ve got a really good mix of people from outside the organization with people who have had success here in Chicago like Ethan and Hess,” Hahn said, “as well as being able to promote people like Chris Johnson from within who, on in our opinion, very high. But in the end Pedro had to bless it all. Pedro had the final say on who would enter his staff.
“As we looked at each of the candidates, some of whom Pedro brought to the table and some of whom we suggested or recommended, we ultimately came to a decision on which staffing was the best. And I couldn’t be happier with the combination of old and new, outside, inside, young, new, different approaches to how to prepare players and win baseball games.”
Castro, 64, spent 2015-22 as the Braves’ assistant hitting coach. He was previously the Chicago Cubs hitting coach in 2014 and the Seattle Mariners interim hitting coach in 2008.
“I think he’s one of the best hitting coaches in the game,” Grifol said. “He has tremendous instincts. He’s been in the big league for a long time.”
During Johnson’s two seasons with the Knights, they ranked fifth in the International League in home runs (350) and sixth in slugging percentage (.422).
“I was very impressed with his knowledge of analytics, the terminology he uses,” Grifol said of the 38-year-old Johnson. “I think those two, along with Tosar, who was in that hitting program in Kansas City, are going to make a great team when it comes to communicating with players, being able to make adjustments and adapt to each individual player, each culture, and adapt to whatever type of analytics or sports science is thrown our way.”
Tosar, 54, spent the last three seasons (2020-22) as the special assignments coach in the Kansas City Royals organization.
Grifol said Tosar brings “a lot of value to the bullpen game, he has a lot of baserunning value, of course he has a lot of hitting value and the infield.”
Rodriguez, 63, also comes from the Royals system, like Tosar and Grifol. He spent the last three seasons as the minor league field coordinator. His coaching experience includes serving as Royals third base coach (2011-13), Mariners first base coach (2008), Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals bench coach (2004-06), Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach (2002-03) and first base coach (2001) and third base coach for the Toronto Blue Jays (1998).
“He did a lot of things in this game,” Grifol said. “He has short-term memory, which is very important in this position. He is aggressive. And it is extremely detailed.”
Rodriguez will lead the infield, Grifol said, with help from Tosaro and Montoyo. Boston, 59, will handle the outfield while Montoyo will lead the bases.
Grifol said Boston, who will be in his 11th season as first base coach and 26th as Sox coach, has a “great relationship with the players” and is “detailed.”
Head, 37, was the Cincinnati Reds’ senior director of health and performance for three seasons (2020-2022). He previously spent 12 seasons in the San Francisco Giants organization.
“This is a completely new position,” Hahn said, “that will help coordinate not only what our strength and conditioning coaches do at the major league level, but throughout the minor league system, making sure that our entire chain of strength and conditioning coaches do the same.
“But also Jeff will be involved in everything from nutrition to sleep and sports science, working in the lab, working with our technicians, making sure we have the best information about what our players need and what we can do to keep them on field. .”