Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Guillen says Walker's job is safe

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walker.jpgKANSAS CITY, Mo. - Far too often, it's the kiss of death.
Coach or manager is in trouble, boss comes out and guarantees them job security and then two days later, bang, unemployment gets another casualty.
Then again, it always depends on who is doing the kissing.
With the White Sox dragging their heels on announcing the contract extension for the coaching staff that were expected to be completed last week, as well as rumblings from down in Class AAA Charlotte that Knights hitting coach Gary Ward was preparing for a promotion, manager Ozzie Guillen ended any speculation on Monday concerning the immediate future of current big-league hitting coach Greg Walker.
"Never, nope,'' Guillen replied, when asked if rumors concerning Walker's firing were valid. "That's my decision. That's a decision I have to make, and my coaches are fine. They work hard. I'm behind them 100 percent.
"Obviously when the team is not hitting, not pitching, not playing defense they all want to blame the coaching staff, but right now, no, that's not true.''
Guillen's message was simple: If Sox fans want to blame someone, blame the 25 guys wearing the uniform.
"Everything's out there, the information to help, the opportunity is there [for the players],'' Guillen said. "Right now, I mean I've fired a couple of coaches because I didn't think we were on the same page. I didn't think they were doing the job they should have. The coaching staff I have right now they should be here as long as I will be here.''
Guillen did admit that he and Walker had some icy moments last season, after Guillen blew up on June 1, following a dismal series with Tampa Bay, and insisted that general manager Ken Williams needed to make changes, including mentioning Walker by name.
The way Walker saw it, he had been thrown under the bus. But after a cooling off period, the two spoke and cleared the air.
"Last year, Walker and I had a little thing going on, and that happens,'' Guillen said. "That will happen again, hopefully it doesn't happen the way it did. But no, that's a guy I like, that's the one I think is doing the job.''
As far as Ward, he already had one crack at being the Sox hitting coach from 2001-03, and it was just short of disastrous.
By the time he was fired, there were more than a handful of players that couldn't stand Ward, including former outfielder Aaron Rowand, who felt Ward has set him back more than helped.
"Did we hire [Ward] to be a big-league coach in case something happened? Well, a lot of people will think he's more than a Triple-A hitting coach, but no, Walker is OK here,'' Guillen added. "He's doing his job, he's doing what he's supposed to do, and as long as he does that he will be here with me. Work hard, and as long as the players respect you, that's what we want.''

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on May 4, 2009 8:55 PM.

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