New White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson hopes to connect with each of his new players before the club goes to spring training in February.
Steverson, who was officially hired on Thursday, said he plans to reach out to each player to get on the same page. While he has seen some players along the way, Steverson, who has been with Oakland since 2004 and was with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1993-2003, has had little crossover with the team’s 40-man roster and, like most, has only seen video of new first baseman Jose Abreu. Steverson is taking over as hitting coach for Jeff Manto, who was dismissed on Sept. 27 after two seasons.
“Before spring training I’ll talk to them about last year, what they like to do and improve on, a routine and plan so we can get them in the best position to achieve their goals,” Steverson said. “So they know we’re on the same wavelength when spring training starts. I know what they want to do, and they know what the plan of attack is in terms of a team philosophy and so the continuity starts as early as possible.”
Though Steverson hasn’t seen much of Abreu, who signed a six-year, $68-million deal on Tuesday, he has formed some early opinions on the slugger. Suffice it to say, Steverson is quite impressed.
“Very strong man,” Steverson said. “Obviously has a good idea about his swing. He’s been playing a long time. One good thing I saw, there were home runs, but he drove the ball up the middle and the other way a couple times, which shows he can use the whole field, not just a power hitter, all-or-nothing kind of guy. He’ll take what’s given to him and do what’s necessary based on the position of the pitch. That’s a plus that he’s not coming in trying to be an all-or-nothing type of hitter. He has a clue of the strike zone and what he wants to do with the baseball.”