OAKLAND -- Aaron Rowand expects he’ll feel comfortable working with Hawk Harrelson this weekend on White Sox TV broadcasts.
Rowand, who played for the White Sox from 2001-05 and is filling in for color analyst Steve Stone, looked at home in the visiting clubhouse as he chatted with current players in the lead up to Friday night’s game against the Oakland A’s.
Beyond the insight he can lend to what players are trying to accomplish, Rowand has the ability to discuss in depth a current topic he also experienced, the demotion of Micah Johnson on Thursday.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn compared Johnson’s demotion to Charlotte to ones experienced by Joe Crede and Rowand, who was sent down to Triple-A by the White Sox in 2003. Though he didn’t see it at the time, Rowand, now agrees it was the right move.
“There are times where you need to go down under a less stressful situation than being in the spotlight of the major league atmosphere, fans, media, and being able to work on stuff in a less stressful environment,” Rowand said. “You get a lot more done and don’t feel the heat of trying to do well enough to make sure you stay here. It’s being able to actually get a lot of productive work done to be back up here so when you do get called back up you’re more prepared.”
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Rowand sensed the White Sox might send him to the minors at the time. He was off to a slow start after he had shoulder surgery following an offseason motorcycle accident. On May 1, Rowand was hitting .133/.200/.167 through 28 games. He returned to the majors on June 10 and hit .381/.408/.629 over his final 70 games.
“Even though I wouldn’t have admitted it, at the time I probably wasn’t at 100 percent health and it affected my swing mechanically,” Rowand said. “And I needed to get work in and try to get my swing back where it needed to be. At the time I wasn’t very happy about it, but looking back it was the right thing to do. And under the circumstances, not having all the pressure of having to perform up here, and actually get a good body of work done, got me back to where I could come back up and be productive at this level.”