CHICAGO (AP) - White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker has resigned after nine seasons, the latest change in a hectic week for the disappointing team.
The former Chicago slugger said he told owner Jerry Reinsdorf a month ago he planned to leave after Wednesday’s regular-season finale, regardless of who the manager is next year.
“It’s just the right thing to do. It’s time to go,” Walker said Wednesday before Chicago played Toronto. “Somebody else’s turn. I always said there would be a day when I wouldn’t be the hitting coach here and that day is here.”
Ozzie Guillen was released from his contract Monday and became manager of the Marlins on Wednesday. The 51-year-old Walker said his decision had nothing to do with Guillen’s departure. He said he’d also earlier informed Guillen of his plans.
“It didn’t have to do with recent events, so no matter who the manager was I was not going to be the hitting coach next year,” Walker said.
The White Sox will finish below .500 this season, the third straight year they’ve missed the playoffs.
Walker’s biggest booster and prized pupil has been Paul Konerko, who batted .300 this season with 31 homers and 105 RBIs.
But other White Sox hitters, for whatever reason, have struggled, including Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham. Dunn was out of the lineup Wednesday with a .159 batting average.
Walker said some of his decision was personal and he wanted to spend time with his family.
There were numerous reports earlier this month that Walker and general manager Ken Williams engaged in a shouting match.
“Nobody in this organization the last three years has not been beat up,” Walker said. “You have to go through tough times to make this happen …. You have to have a thick skin to do this job.”
Walker said he has no plans but will have dinner with Reinsdorf and discuss his future.
Walker spent nine seasons in the major leagues as a player with the White Sox (1982-90) and Baltimore (1990) and was a .260 career hitter with 113 home runs and 444 RBI.
The White Sox have already announced they are bringing back pitching coach Don Cooper _ who served as interim manager the last two games _ and first base coach Harold Baines with multiyear deals. Bench coach Joey Cora will join Guillen in Miami. The futures of third base coach Jeff Cox and bullpen coach Juan Nieves are undetermined.
The team also announced Wednesday a four-year contract extension with popular TV announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson.
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