White Sox finalize coaching staff

Jose Castro named hitting coach, Eddie Rodriguez third base coach; White Sox add five newcomers to manager Pedro Grifol’s first staff.

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Former Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo.

Charlie Montoyo, officially named White Sox bench coach Tuesday, watches workouts at Toronto Blue Jays spring training in 2020 Montoyo was fired as Blue Jays manager during the 2022 season.

Steve Nesius/The Canadian Press via AP

It was known that pitching coaches Ethan Katz and Curt Hasler would be back, that Charlie Montoyo would be the new bench coach and that Triple-A Charlotte hitting coach Chris Johnson got promoted to the major league staff in some capacity.

It was also known that hitting coach Frank Menechino, assistant hitting coach Howie Clark, third base coach Joe McEwing and bench coach Miguel Cairo would not be part of new White Sox manager Pedro Grifol’s staff in 2023.

On Tuesday, the Sox filled in the blanks, naming Braves assistant hitting coach Jose Castro as their hitting coach, Johnson as assistant hitting coach, 63-year-old Eddie Rodriguez as third base coach and Mike Tosar as major league fielding coordinator.

Daryl Boston returns for his 11th season as first base coach under his fourth Sox manager, but he will only be in charge of outfielders this season. Montoyo will be the lead coach on baseurnning, an area that hurt the Sox in recent years.

Grifol said cited Boston’s “great relationships with players” and attention to detail.

“I’ve had three or four conversations with him and our visions aligned,” Grifol said.

Hasler is back for a seventh season as bullpen coach, and Geoff Head was named senior director of sports performance.

Castro, 64, enters his first season as a major-league hitting coach after working as assistant hitting coach with the Braves the last eight years. A native of Cuba, Castro was the Cubs’ quality assurance coach in 2004.

Rodríguez, 63, spent the last three seasons as Kansas City’s minor-league field coordinator. Rodriguez, who was Frank Robinson’s bench coach in Montreal in 2004, was with Grifol in the Mariners organization. He has third base experience with four teams.

“He’s aggressive. And he’s extremely detailed,” Grifol said. “So those are the qualifications I look for in a third-base coach and he’s got them all. He checks every box for me.”

Tosar, 54, spent the last three seasons as a special assignment hitting coach in the Kansas City organization and with Castro and Johnson form something of a “two-and-a-half-headed monster” on the hitting side.

“[Tosar is] extremely versatile, which is something I really like about our staff,” Grifol said. “I just didn’t want to make him a hitting coach because he’s got a lot of value to the bunting game, to base running, certainly he’s got a lot of value to hitting and infield. We’re going to use these guys maybe in a different way than most teams ... we’ve got some versatility on this staff and we’ll cross-pollinate at some point every day.”

Head, 37, was senior director of health and performance with the Reds for three seasons from 2020-22. He has three World Series rings having spent 12 seasons in the Giants organization as strength and conditioning coordinator (2008-2015), major-league sports scientist (2015-2017) and assistant director of player development/director of sports medicine (2017-2019).

The Sox were shelled by injuries last season.

“Improving our methods and operations from the sports science standpoint was a prioroity and we feel fortunate to add Geoff,” general manager Rick Hahn said.

“He is one part of personnel and infrastructure additions we are making to hopefully put us in a better position from an injury standpoint. That was an important hire for us.”

Grifol, 52, takes over after two seasons of Hall of Famer La Russa at the helm. Things will look different with this staff.

“Most of our work is going to be geared with a little bit of higher intensity, closer to game-like speed,” Grifol said.

Hahn said Grifol spent the last 10 seasons with the Royals, including the last three as bench coach, had “final say” on who is on his staff. Grifol wanted coaches who “think outside the box, guys that bring stuff to the table.”

“This group is going to bring that to the table, starting in spring training for sure,” Grifol said.

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