Buddy Bell plays a major role in assembling Robin Ventura’s staff
DARYL VAN SCHOuWEN ON THE SOX October 13, 2011 10:58PM
Buddy Bell Joe West
Updated: November 16, 2011 3:47PM
Buddy Bell would’ve made an ideal bench coach for first-time manager Robin Ventura. The White Sox’ director of player development was a manager for nine years in the majors, and Ventura was hired in June to work with him as an adviser, so they have a working knowledge of and respect for each other.
But Bell, who’s highly respected by chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, is needed in his role as farm director, and he has had enough travel after an 18-year playing career and the nine years as a manager. So Bell is doing the next-best thing he can for Reinsdorf by being the major voice in assembling Ventura’s staff.
The Sox have not announced the last three key staff positions to be filled, but it has been widely reported that Mark Parent will be Ventura’s bench coach and Joe McEwing will coach third base. Sox minor-league hitting instructor Jeff Manto appears to be the favorite to replace Greg Walker as hitting coach, although Ventura did say that’s “up in the air.” A Sox spokesman said an announcement on the hires might not come until after the World Series, which suggests the Sox still might be looking around.
Parent, who managed the Philadelphia Phillies’ Class AA team at Reading this past season, will bring an authoritative “old school” presence along with an imposing 6-5, 230-plus-pounds frame. As part of Bell’s plan, Parent would bring a tough-cop balance to Ventura’s good-cop role.
Bell was Parent’s manager when Parent was a catcher on the 1996 Detroit Tigers. Parent, 50, was a backup catcher for 13 years in the big leagues, and despite his lack of coaching experience in the majors, it’s believed he’ll stand up to players — veterans such as A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios included — if needed.
“Super Joe” McEwing, the manager at Class AAA Charlotte, brings a needed energetic presence that complements the low-key demeanors of Ventura and first-base coach Harold Baines.
As a utility player for nine seasons in the majors, Mc-Ewing, 38, was a fan favorite because of his hustle. He was so well-liked by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa that La Russa asked for a pair of McEwing’s spikes before he was traded to the Mets in 2000.
Ventura has no use for equipment. Asking for advice is another matter.
“I’ve seen a lot of great managers ask questions of everybody on their staff, and I don’t see me being any different,’’ Ventura said.