Walker: ‘I know if I was in a normal situation I probably would have been fired after this year.’

SHARE Walker: ‘I know if I was in a normal situation I probably would have been fired after this year.’
SHARE Walker: ‘I know if I was in a normal situation I probably would have been fired after this year.’

Greg Walker knows the reality of it.

Hal McRae, Carney Lansford, Von Joshua – just the latest casualties of a career that has the life expectancy slightly better than that of an adult mayfly.

No, make no mistake about it, hitting coach and job security will rarely be found in the same sentence.

“Look, I know if I was in a normal situation I probably would have been fired after this year,” the White Sox hitting coach admitted in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “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.”

The decision made at the end of the 2009 season was it was still Walker’s turn.

As reported by the Sun-Times in late September, Walker, as well as coaches Joey Cora, Don Cooper and Harold Baines, were each given two-year extensions to take them through the 2011 season.

Walker, a self-admitted “organizational guy because the White Sox are my family,” once again came under fire by the fans this season, especially in the second half when Carlos Quentin came back from injury looking lost at the plate, Jermaine Dye went into a second-half rut and the Alex Rios experiment seemed to blow up in the entire club’s face.

Forgotten in that mess was A.J. Pierzynski putting together a career year, rookie Gordon Beckham being rescued from an 0-for-13 big-league start, Paul Konerko back to being Paul Konerko, the rebirth of Scott Podsednik, as well as the emergence of Chris Getz.

But the contract extension means little to Walker if he feels he is somehow hindering the organization.

“I take it one year at a time,” he continued. “Even though I have a two-year contract now, that doesn’t matter to me. This year did not go like I wanted to. But again, I think they know I’m part of the answer not the problem.”

The search for more answers begins Sunday for Walker when he flies to California for a sit-down with Quentin. It will be the first of two trips he may make out West to work with the outfielder this winter. In December and then January he will be off to Puerto Rico to meet and work with Rios.

Already crossed off the to-do list is meeting with Beckham, who drove to Walker’s home last week.

“You go into winter concerned about everybody,” Walker said. “You look at everyone. You work with [head trainer] Herm [Schneider] with the medical part, A.T. [conditioning coach Allen Thomas] with the conditioning part.

“Quentin and Rios are the two guys that we wanted to work with specifically. They are young middle of the order hitters and should be with us a long time. Q is a guy that watches a lot of video and is a bright guy. We’re going to look at the good, bad and the ugly the last few years and come up with a gameplan. No swinging or anything like that. Just some time spent with him, mostly on the computer, come up with a plan.

“We want [Rios] to work on some things in the offseason with no pressure. I wanted to firm up that we’re all on the same page.”

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