Aside from changing managers at the end of the season with bench coach Rick Renteria taking over for Robin Ventura after five years at the helm, the White Sox will employ a coaching staff with much the same look in 2017.
Five-year third base coach Joe McEwing moves over to the bench coach role vacated by Renteria, while pitching coach Don Cooper (for his 14th season), hitting coach Todd Steverson (fourth), assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks (second), first base coach Daryl Boston (fifth) are all being retained. Mark Salas is on for his 11th season as bullpen catcher.
There are two new additions, both from within the organization. Nick Capra, the Sox’ director of player development the last five seasons, takes over as third base coach to fill McEwing’s vacated role. And Curt Hasler, a pitching coach or instructor in the Sox system for the last 25 years, replaces bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen, the former Sox closer who filled the role the last four seasons.
“I am very excited to continue working with Joe in his new role as our club’s bench coach,” Renteria said in a statement. “Joe’s tireless work ethic, extensive baseball acumen and high-energy personality will continue to be an important part of our team’s preparation next season. Joe has proven himself to be a key member of our coaching staff as well as an important teacher to our players.”
Renteria took over for Ventura Oct. 3, a day after after the Sox completed their fourth consecutive losing season. They were 63-99 in 2013, 73-89 in 2014, 76-86 in 2015 and 78-84 in 2016. Sox pitchers posted a 4.10 ERA in 2016, which ranked sixth in the American League. Sox hitters were 11th in the AL in runs and OPS and eighth with a .257 average.
Capra, 58, enters his 22nd season in the Sox organization and first on the major-league coaching staff. He served as director of player development over the last five seasons and has worked as minor-league field coordinator, assistant director of minor-league instruction, minor-league hitting coordinator a minor-league manager (1996-2005). As manager, he doubled as the third base coach.
Hasler was the Sox’ pitching coordinator from 2011-16 after working as a pitching coach throughout the minor leagues from 1991-2010.
“Adding quality instructors like Nick and Curt to the major-league staff are important moves for the growth and success of our entire roster,” Renteria said. “Nick’s extensive experience in player development will be important to many of our young players, and his years as a minor-league manager have him well prepared to work the third-base box. Curt knows all levels of our organization extremely well, has a great working relationship with Don Cooper and has proven himself to be a tremendous teacher for all of our pitchers.”