While calm responses where the story of the day yesterday's press conferences, that was yesterday. During the Chicago White Sox game this evening, Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone announced that White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto had been relieved of his duties.
Manto joined the White Sox after the hiring of Robin Ventura as manager for the Sox prior to the
2011 2012 season. In 2012, the White Sox did improve in several offensive categories over the previous year. This season was a different story. While the Sox were in first place until late September last year, they are dangerously close to being an 100 loss team this year. Rick Hahn and the front office have been very supportive of Robin Ventura returning next season, they have been reticent regarding the rest of the coaching staff. With the offense at the bottom of the AL in several offensive categories, Jeff Manto's demise had been expected for quite some time. With one game left, the Sox decided now was the time.
Update: The White Sox have made the official announcement after the game. Harold Baines, the assistant hitting coach, will be taking over the duties for the final game. Also, it appears that the announcement during the game was an accident and that the Sox planned on waiting until after the season to announce the firing.
Update: Rick Hahn said the ideal replacement for Manto would have experience at the major- or minor-league level, which would seem to rule out Jim Thome or Frank Thomas.
Robin Ventura voice cracked when discussing the firing. "These are guys that I came in with. I know the work he did and everything that went into it. Sometimes it doesn't translate into what people see, but 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."
"Right now we're still trying to get through this," Ventura said when asked about potential replacements. "It's tough. These guys are my friends, and I respect what he did."