Chicago White Sox name Frank Menechino hitting coach
Given the challenges that come with the job, Todd Steverson is rather fortunate for having lasted six seasons with the Chicago White Sox.
"The hitting-coach position is a very difficult one," Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday on a conference call. "A lot of changes occur in that role fairly frequently. I think the stat heading into this off-season was something like 24 of the 30 teams had changed their hitting coach in the last two years.
"Obviously, that number is probably going up with all the changes around the game right now. In fact, Todd was the second-longest tenured hitting coach in baseball at six years. It's a very difficult position and sometimes you just need to change the voice to make sure the message is getting through to everyone in the clubhouse."
The White Sox made the change last week, cutting ties with Steverson and assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks.
On Thursday, they named Frank Menechino hitting coach and new voice.
"He's got a very sound message about his approach to hitting and teaching hitting," Hahn said. "He's an effective communicator in getting that message across to players. And he has a number of different tools in his box about how to get that message across and different ways to teach and effectively get guys to buy in to what he's preaching from an offensive standpoint.
"He's a very skilled, diverse teacher, and that's going to serve us well over the coming years."
Menechino was drafted by the Sox in 1993, on the 45th round. He played seven major-league seasons with Oakland and Toronto and hit .240 with 58 doubles, 36 home runs, 149 RBI and a .358 on-base percentage.
Before returning to the White Sox's organization this season as Class AAA Charlotte's hitting coach, the 48-year-old Menechino spent five years as the Marlins' hitting coach, the last two seasons as an assistant.
He also spent five years as a minor-league hitting coach in the Yankees' system.
"I don't change anything, how I coach, if I'm in A-ball, Double-A, Triple-A or the big leagues," Menechino said. "I train these guys how to get the most out of what they have and I train these guys to win. Everything's the same. You deal with different stuff at different levels; you deal with different talent at different levels.
"But in the big leagues it's about winning. The talent pool is there and it's my job to get the most out of them."
With Menechino coaching hitters such as Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal and Zack Collins at Charlotte this season, the Knights led the International League in runs scored and ranked second in on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
"You get to know them, you get to see what makes them tick, you get to learn them, see how they think, what improvements they want to make," Menechino said. "Once you figure out who they are and what they want to do, that's when you figure out what they will become."