Before Saturday night's game against the Royals, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he was satisfied with the performance of his coaching staff.
"I'm happy with the effort that was put in there," Ventura said. "So I'm hoping there's nothing done, but there are people above me."
People like general manager Rick Hahn, who has one more day of watching a Sox offense that ranks last in the American League in runs scored and walks and near the bottom in home runs, on-base percentage, home runs and slugging.
Hahn obviously saw enough -- make that not enough -- so hitting coach Jeff Manto was fired before the Sox beat the Royals 6-5 at U.S. Cellular Field.
"We are at the bottom of several important offensive categories, including most importantly runs scored as well as walks and on-base percentage, and it's our belief that the best way to begin to address, or continue to address, some of those issues is to get a new voice in here to work with our hitters, which is the reason behind the decision," Hahn said. "As for the process going forward, we are going to begin a search, we actually have some names already assembled, and once the season officially ends, starting next week we will begin contacting individuals both inside and outside the organization.
"I don't think we are going to rule out anyone based on their background. However, as I sit here right now, I think the ideal candidate will very likely have experience in the position of hitting coach at some level, at the major-league or minor-league level."
That would seem to rule out Jim Thome, who on July 2 joined the White Sox to serve as Hahn's special assistant. It would also seem to eliminate Frank Thomas, the best hitter in franchise history.
One name to watch is Charlie Manuel, who managed the Phillies from 2005 until he was fired on Aug. 16 of this season. Before managing, the 69-year-old Manuel was a standout hitting coach with the Indians, helping develop players like Thome, Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez.
Manto was given the option of staying with the Sox through the end of the season, which is Sunday, but he decided to leave immediately and was not available for comment.
"As everybody knows, it's part of the game," Paul Konerko said. "But when you see it, you don't want to see guys get fired, guys get sent down. This is people's livelihood and this isn't just another job. People pour their heart and soul and passion into it."
Ventura went to bat for Manto, but to no avail. They both joined the Sox' staff in 2012.
"Disappointed," Ventura said. "These are guys I came in with. I know the work that went into it and how sometimes it doesn't translate into what people see. I know what he was trying to do and I respect that and I thank him for it because it's tough. That's what happens with a season like this."