Manto excited about Baines' new position

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Manto excited about Baines' new position

There was no shortage of excitement in Jeff Mantos voice on Tuesday morning as he discussed working with Harold Baines next season.

The White Sox named Baines, who last season was the teams first-base coach, assistant hitting coach for the 2013 season.

The team also announced the returns of Manto, the clubs hitting coach, pitching coach Don Cooper, third-base coach Joe McEwing and bench coach Mark Parent and also elevated Daryl Boston to first-base coach and Bobby Thigpen to bullpen coach.

Boston spent last season as a roving minor-league outfield instructor for the White Sox while Thigpen -- who takes over after Juan Nieves was named the Boston Red Sox pitching coach -- was the pitching coach at Double-A Birmingham in 2012.

Though Baines officially moved into his new role on Tuesday, its a duty he performed last season alongside Manto, who was in his first season as hitting coach.

Manto said he leaned heavily upon his one-time teammate last season and has no doubt the two share the same ideals about hitting, a critical component for their new relationship to work.

I dont think Bainsey would have walked into it if the message wasnt the same, Manto said. Were on the same page with our language and our thoughts. Its not even going to be a transition.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said the move began to evolve last season at Baines request. Several teams made the move to two hitting coaches ahead of the White Sox, including the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres. Ventura said on a phone call Thursday he could see a connection between Manto and Baines form early on.

Harold enjoyed it, Ventura said. Bouncing stuff off coaches, we do a lot of that going back and forth together. For Jeff, having somebody like Harold is valuable.

The bond between Manto and Baines dates back to 1995, when the two played together for the Baltimore Orioles. Manto blasted a career-high 17 home runs in 89 games that season for the Orioles while Baines hit .299 with 24 homers.

What impressed Manto most about Baines is how hard the first overall pick of the 1977 amateur baseball draft worked at his craft on the way to 2,866 career hits. Not only that, but when the two talked hitting, Baines, unlike many great hitters, could relay in laymans terms what made him successful. Those cerebral conversations had Manto convinced Baines could relate to hitters about what he saw from the first-base box.

He wasnt a guy who didnt know how he did it, he was a great hitter who knows exactly what he did, Manto said. Hes definitely in tune with what the players are doing today. Hes not just on top of mechanics. One thing we focused on last season was What were you thinking? and thats why we were successful.

With Baines on board, Manto believes the White Sox should have even more time to hone players hitting abilities as they move forward. The two will split the workload evenly, which should allow each ample time to work with hitters in the cage and video room. Though Baines and Manto will sometimes use different drills to teach hitters, the message will remain constant.

It just alleviates the workload, Manto said. Nobody will be left out and nobody will be slighted. I trust him as much as I trust anyone.

Preview: Jose Quintana, White Sox look to win sixth straight game on CSN

Preview: Jose Quintana, White Sox look to win sixth straight game on CSN

The White Sox take on the Kansas City Royals on Monday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (13-11, 3.21 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (8-19, 4.02 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.

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Todd Frazier, Miguel Gonzalez propel White Sox past Rays

Todd Frazier, Miguel Gonzalez propel White Sox past Rays

Todd Frazier reached the 40-home run plateau on Wednesday night and now his eyes are trained on 100 RBIs.

Frazier’s seventh-inning solo home run not only extended his hitting streak to 12 games, it provided the game’s only offense in a 1-0 White Sox victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in front of 12,976 at U.S. Cellular Field. Frazier became only the seventh player in franchise history to hit 40 homers in a season with his 394-foot drive off Rays pitcher Eddie Gamboa. The blast offered Miguel Gonzalez and David Robertson just enough support as they combined on a three-hit shutout. Robertson recorded his 37th save in 44 tries.

“It’s a big deal any time a guy rounds off that number,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s always a big deal for you. He’s been wanting to get there for a while. I don’t know if you guys know, but he’s been talking about it for a while. I know I’ve heard it a lot. He’s been aiming for that. He wants to get 40 and 100 and especially if it counts like it did tonight and gets a guy a win.”

Frazier entered the game hitting .305/.374/.568 with six homers and 14 RBIs in September, easily his best month of the season. His homer came on a cold, windy night in which offense was at a premium.

The game was delayed for 21 minutes by rain, which continued through the first inning. The rains came again in the bottom of the third inning and delayed the contest for another 76 minutes.

Tampa’s third pitcher of the night, Gamboa’s 76-mph knuckleball caught too much of the plate and Frazier planted it about eight rows beyond the left-field bullpen with two outs in the seventh.

“Not many people have hit 40 home runs in a year so it’s a good feat to have,” Frazier said.

“It’s a great feat to have. I had a bunch of people text me ‘It’s coming. Today is the day.’ It wasn’t that much pressure. It was just a matter of knowing that it’s there and I’m glad to get it over with and now it’s on to another goal of mine.”

Frazier has never driven in 100 runs in a season. His 98 RBIs this season are nine more than his previous career high of 89 that he set in 2015.

Gonzalez hadn’t pitched into the ninth inning since he threw a four-hit shutout on Sept. 3, 2014. To get there he had to stay loose and sharp throughout the second delay of the night. Gonzalez threw twice during the delay, a total of 25 pitches in the indoor cage, and stretched to stay loose.

But being his final start, Gonzalez wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. He returned after the delay and was remarkable. He had stretches where he retired eight in a row in the middle and nine straight into the ninth before he yielded a one-out single to Logan Forsythe.

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He allowed three hits, walked none and struck out five. Gonzalez threw strikes on 71 of 102 pitches.

Robertson took over and needed only one pitch to record the save as Kevin Kiermaier grounded into a game-ending double play.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been out there for the ninth inning,” Gonzalez said. “It took me two years to get there, but they were swinging early. I made some good pitches early on. Got some quick outs, that’s what you got me to the ninth inning.

“Staying loose was really the most important thing for it.

“I was mentally prepared. Obviously you can’t get away with it. It was my last start. I was going out no matter what and didn’t give in and the results were there.”