White Sox’ Ken Williams, Greg Walker have heated confrontation
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org September 2, 2011 10:40PM
White Sox GM Ken Williams (left) and hitting coach Greg Walker got into a heated confrontation on Friday.
Updated: November 5, 2011 2:05PM
DETROIT — The frustration stemming from the shortage of production from Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham recently reached a boiling point between general manager Ken Williams and hitting coach Greg Walker.
Walker took issue with Williams’ comments about Beckham’s swing, and after he and Williams exchanged heated words in the tunnel leading to the Sox clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field, Williams told Walker to clean out his locker, a source said.
When chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was made aware of what happened, things were smoothed over.
“I’d rather not comment on it,’’ Walker told the Sun-Times on Friday. “What goes on in our clubhouse stays in our clubhouse. It’s been a very frustrating year for a lot of people.’’
Williams told reporters on Aug. 19 he preferred the swing Beckham brought with him from the University of Georgia after he was picked in the first round of the draft to the swing he has now.
“As long as Gordon continues to work, I have no problem with it,’’ Walker said Friday. “We’re not satisfied with the results. We’ve looked at it every way we can look at it.’’
None of the Sox coaches are signed beyond this season, and most of them are not confident that they will return despite the backing of manager Ozzie Guillen — who is signed through next season.
“There’s an expiration date on all coaches and managers — and players,’’ Walker said. “I had a career as a player and that was over. I’ll wait till the end of the year and I’ll make a decision — or they will make a decision. But in a pennant race with guys fighting as hard as they are, the last thing I want is to be is a distraction or become a story.
“My goal to come here was not to be a personality. I came here to help players. I am still doing that every day. Sometimes we’re not getting the results we desire and that’ s part of the business. It’s been very frustrating for everybody involved and that’s all I can say about it.’’
Williams’ comment last month about Beckham’s swing appeared to be a direct hit aimed toward Walker.
“Any high fastball, he could get on top if it with his top hand,’’ Williams said then. “But again, as the general manager you sit back and you have to respect the work that your coaches do and you have to respect the desire from the player as to what he thinks will work.
“I personally liked the swagger and the cock that he had of his wrists and the loading of his hands when he had the previous swing I spoke of.’’
Walker is as disappointed as the results as anybody. He knew expectations were high after Williams signed Dunn to a $56 million free-agent deal last off-season.
“So far we haven’t played well and our department is a big part of it,’’ Walker said. “So yeah, I’ve been frustrated about it just like everybody else. But I’m not the story. I’m just a hitting coach. It’s an important role but in the big picture it’s way down the food chain.’’