White Sox third-base coach Joe McEwing catching heat for runners getting thrown out at home
But manager Tony La Russa says McEwing needs to stay aggressive.
Third-base coach Joe McEwing is facing increasing criticism from fans with each White Sox runner thrown out at home plate.
But McEwing has a valuable supporter in manager Tony La Russa, who also has absorbed his share of abuse from fans at the park and on social media for his lineups and in-game decisions.
“He’s as good as anyone in the league,” La Russa said of McEwing on Friday, one day after a runner was thrown out at the plate for the 13th time this season.
La Russa noted the Sox have struggled to string together consecutive hits, which forces McEwing to be more aggressive. In Thursday’s loss to the Orioles, right fielder Austin Hays made a strong, one-hop throw to nail Gavin Sheets for the final out of the fourth inning with the Sox trailing 2-0.
La Russa recalled his days coaching third in the minors and during the 1987 All-Star Game, when he blamed himself for not aggressively sending Dave Winfield home from second amid a wild double play to end the ninth inning in the American League’s eventual 2-0 loss in 13 innings.
“I’m not exaggerating,” La Russa said. “I think he would have scored and we would have won the game.”
Moncada on mend
Third baseman Yoan Moncada’s right hamstring is healing to the point he could return as soon as Tuesday, when he’s eligible to be activated from the 10-day injured list.
Meanwhile, the Sox continue to take a deliberate approach with outfielder Eloy Jimenez (torn right hamstring), who’s 3-for-12 since resuming his rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday.
“He’s not really close [to returning],” La Russa said of Jimenez.
Third baseman Jake Burger has committed six errors, but after extra work with McEwing, he had a backhand stop that he turned into an inning-ending double play Wednesday against the Blue Jays.
“Definitely there was a stretch there where I was making an error every game, it felt like,” Burger said. “I’m just trying to work as hard as I can to figure it out.”
Burger said McEwing suggested he field the ball in front of him on both sides, as well as keep his body on the same plane.
“I’ve felt a lot better since we addressed that,” Burger said. “It’s just taking away extra movements. That’s the biggest point.”
Prospect Montgomery moves up
Colson Montgomery wrapped up his stint at Class-A Kannapolis by hitting .397 with a .988 OPS in June, earning him a promotion to high Class-A Winston-Salem.
Montgomery, the Sox’ first pick in the 2021 draft, batted .324 with four home runs, 26 RBI and a .424 on-base percentage in 170 at-bats at Kannapolis.