White Sox

White Sox make it official, hire Rick Renteria as bench coach

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White Sox make it official, hire Rick Renteria as bench coach

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- They’ve had interest for 11 months and nearly lost him to the Washington Nationals in October. But the White Sox determined pursuit of Rick Renteria finally paid off on Tuesday evening as they named the former Cubs manager their new bench coach.

Citing Renteria’s high energy and positive demeanor among many other key characteristics, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn thinks his club has found the perfect complement for manager Robin Ventura’s coaching staff. Hahn said Ventura first contacted Renteria about a job during the 2014 winter meetings but the timing wasn’t right.

The team also announced the hire of Greg Sparks -- Oakland’s minor league hitting coordinator in 2015 -- as the new assistant hitting coach on Tuesday.

“We didn’t quite have the right fit available for (Renteria),” Hahn said. “Obviously, this time around I’m not sure we could have found a better fit for us in terms of his experience and intelligence, his communication skills, his baseball acumen. He’s going to help make the entire staff stronger.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“He’s a likeable guy who gets along with everybody in the clubhouse and brings the same positive demeanor each day. He knows the game extremely well. He’s a teacher. He’s had success with young players and fits pretty much everything we were looking for in that role.”

Another key — Renteria is bilingual. While Hahn never stated it as a necessity for an “extensive list” of candidates, the ability to fluently speak Spanish didn’t hurt Renteria’s candidacy. Though the White Sox feel confident in the abilities of several current coaches to communicate with their Spanish-speaking players, they lacked a fluent staffer in 2014.

“It’s a positive,” Hahn said. “It certainly was something that was missing from our staff, one of a number of traits that he brings to the table and one I think will benefit the clubhouse.”

Renteria nearly ended up in another clubhouse as he was expected to join Bud Black’s staff when he took over as manager of the Washington Nationals. Renteria worked with Black for six seasons in San Diego, including from 2011-13 as his bench coach. He was expected to handle the same role in Washington until negotiations between Black and the Nationals crumbled.

[MORE: Ramirez still open to return to White Sox]

But once it as clear Renteria was again available the White Sox brought him in for a second round of interviews last week.

“I certainly understood there was a possibility he would land elsewhere,” Hahn said. “But the lines of communication stayed open, and ultimately it made sense for us to sit down, which we did. Quickly soonthereafter we were able to work out a deal.”

Hahn said Renteria and Ventura are more familiar with each other after several conversations over the last month. Even though Ventura is headed into the final year of his contract and Renteria has experience, Hahn isn’t worried about speculation of a potential managerial change. Hahn said his only concern is that the White Sox improved and he feels they have.

“There had to be that comfort level between Robin and the hire, which he and Rick certainly have,” Hahn said. “ And in the end, I think the most important thing is having the coaching staff all pulling in the same direction and that’s toward making us better and making us as strong as we possibly can be, which is what Rick expressed was his desire as well. So internally we don’t get too hung up on contract status or what’s going to happen in the future. It’s more about trying to win that next ballgame and putting us in the best position to win. We feel like we have made the organization stronger with these two additions today.”

Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

The temperature is rising on the South Side, and if you look outside, you know it has nothing to do with Mother Nature.

Instead, it’s a heat wave coming from a fresh-faced 22-year-old slugger who’s crushing baseballs, igniting a fan base and screaming “Hi Mom!” to his actual mother whenever he spots a TV camera with its red light on.

Eloy Jimenez has arrived with the White Sox, and according to a New York Yankees All Star who has known him for years, the best is yet to come.

“Not this year, but next year, he’s going to be even better,” infielder Gleyber Torres said about Jimenez.

The two of them were signed by that team across town in 2013 when they were both 16 years old. They were practically inseparable back then, and they remain tight to this day.

“I talk with Gleyber pretty much every single day now. He’s kind of like my brother,” Jimenez said. “We haven’t lost that communication, and I think that’s good for us.”

Torres echoed similar thoughts about Jimenez.

“In my first couple years with the Cubs, he was my roommate every day. We’ve got a really good relationship. We’re like brothers. We are really good friends,” Torres said. “I’m just happy to see what he’s doing right now.”

Which, lately, has been just about everything.

There was that majestic home run Jimenez belted on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals that landed on the center field concourse at Guaranteed Rate Field, the two walks the next day when the Yankees decided to pitch around Jimenez as if he was a perennial All Star, and then the two-homer game on Friday: The first one gave the White Sox the lead, the second stuck a dagger into the Yankees, as well as the heart of his longtime friend.

“For sure, I didn’t like it,” Torres said with a smile about Jimenez’s two-homer, six-RBI game. “I’m not surprised. I knew Eloy before he signed with the Cubs out of the Dominican. He’s a big dude. The power is coming every day.”

How good can Jimenez be? Torres, who plays on a star-studded team with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius, sees Jimenez reaching the same stratosphere.

“He can be a star for all of MLB. He’s just a young guy right now, but when he matures a little more, he can do everything.”

Jimenez is turning up the heat in Chicago, and it’s not even summer yet.

The South Side can’t wait for the sizzle to come.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Eloy is coming? No. Eloy is here!

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Eloy is coming? No. Eloy is here!

Eloy Jimenez has arrived.

His rookie season has become special with big games and big moments, the latest being his two-homer, six RBI game against the Yankees. Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the magic of Eloy (1:30). Chuck interviews Jimenez after the game (6:20), Lucas Giolito is the first 10-game winner in baseball. Let that sink in (8:00). Die-hard White Sox fan Frank Kaminsky rips Cubs fans (13:00) and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.