Greg Sparks used last week’s White Sox mini-camp to begin to familiarize himself with his new team.
The club’s new assistant hitting coach joined the coaching staff and a dozen young hitters (mostly minor leaguers) at Camelback Ranch for the three-day camp. Sparks -- who spent the previous 19 seasons in a variety of roles with the Oakland A’s -- said the event was important as he tries to get acquainted with new players and other members of the coaching staff.
“It’s huge for just to get a feel for how it goes over here and getting used to seeing what these guys do and putting a face on a name,” Sparks said. “It’s huge for me. It’s a big part of me getting acclimated to the White Sox system.”
Sparks already is acquainted with hitting coach Todd Steverson. Sparks hired Steverson as a minor-league hitting coach when he was Oakland’s hitting coordinator and they worked together for 10 seasons until Steverson joined the White Sox in October 2013.
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But nearly every hitter in the system is new. A professional ballplayer from 1984-96, Sparks has done some work this offseason but knows the best way to get comfortable with hitters is to work in the cage.
“I did a little (video homework),” Sparks said. “Just starting to look and formulate a plan with these guys, but just getting to know the hitters first and then go from there. This is a big part of being a new guy in the organization.
“They’re new to me and I’m new to them and getting to know them and looking forward to spring training and building that relationship and starting the season.”
Sparks looks forward to working again with Steverson. Their relationship should mean hitters hear get the same type of information from both coaches.
“We go way back,” Sparks said. “We’ve always fed off each other, worked well together. Butted heads at times, but that’s OK. Again looking forward to being back with Trick.”