Kenny Williams: Players must perform
With the team in the midst of its first extended winning streak of the season, the heat may be lessening on some members of the Chicago White Sox's coaching staff after a disappointing start to the year.
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"I've got 11 years of taking responsibility for this baseball team and every person that I put on in uniform down there," Williams told ESPN 1000's "Talkin' Baseball" on Saturday. "That is ultimately my responsibility, and I have to answer directly to the owner and no one else does. That's a given. But what I'm saying is when I say that ... people often call for the manager's head or a particularly coach's head when a player isn't performing. When they are performing, you know, the player is the greatest thing since sliced bread and he's done it on his own and it's because of his work ethic and the coach kind of takes a back seat.
Williams was responding to the following comment he made to the media on Friday: "It's always the players," he said. "In management we can put the best players we can on the field. ... Ozzie Guillen was out here two weeks ago at two o'clock. I was sitting in the stands getting some sun and some work done, and he comes out personally with the bunters to get some work in. [Hitting coach] Greg Walker is out here early. I'm listening to what they're talking about with the hitters and the approach and the preparation, not only from a physical standpoint but from a mental preparation stand point, so I know it's there.
"It's no different than it always has been, although some production is down. Some of the same things [Walker] has told Alex Rios last year ... he's telling him the same things this year and going beyond it. So sometimes it's the mental part that gets the players down.
"My coaches from Ozzie to Walk to Don Cooper and the pitching to [bench coach] Joey Cora ... it is a complete buy-in to the thought that this is a team that can win the division, so I have no qualms about standing up for them and telling you guys that I believe in these players and I believe in my coaching staff."
As for Guillen's latest rant, one that the organization has contended was taken out of context from the start, Williams says that it was another display of the deep-rooted passion Guillen has for the organization.
"In this particular case I think it was really misleading for the story to kind of go in the direction that it did because this man was talking about his passion for his job, for the organization and, yes, some of his distaste for some of the things that people forget about," Williams said. "But it was with passion and a commitment to the organization, to the sport. For that little blurb for the statues and stuff being urinated on ... I thought it was unfair and I think it's a shame."
The White Sox will look to extend their season-long winning streak to five games on Saturday night against the Tigers.