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Sox add Thigpen, Boston to staff; new role for Baines

(MCT) — The Chicago White Sox named Daryl Boston as their first base coach and Bobby Thigpen as bullpen coach while shifting first base coach Harold Baines to the newly created position of assistant hitting coach.

The promotion of Thigpen, 49, was anticipated since last week. Thigpen, who has managed or served as a pitching coach in the Sox's farm system since 2007, replaces Juan Nieves, who left to become the Boston Red Sox's pitching coach.

Manager Robin Ventura told reporters during a conference call that the relative youth of the Sox's bullpen, combined with Thigpen's background as a reliever, made him a "natural fit.''

Thigpen earned 201 saves with the Sox (1986-93), and he made 448 appearances with the Sox,  Philadelphia (1993) and Seattle (1994).

"I was hoping to get the job," Thigpen said. "Working with Coop (pitching coach Don Cooper) will be great. He's one of the best pitching coaches in baseball."

Thigpen said he was often asked by chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to rejoin the Sox's organization before finally returning in 2007, and he said it was his intent to return to the majors in some capacity.

Boston, 49, served the past 12 seasons as the Sox's minor league outfield coordinator. He also served as a minor league hitting coach in 1998-2000, and Trayce Thompson, one of the Sox's top minor league prospects, praised Boston last month for his hitting tips.

Boston was a former first-round pick of the Sox in 1981 and played 11 seasons with the Sox, New York Mets, Colorado and the Yankees.

Boston was in charge of the Sox's defense during spring training, and he sees other areas of emphasis.

"We definitely need to improve our leads at first base," said Boston, who spent the last month with the Sox as an extra coach when 25-man rosters were expanded. "With the exception of maybe (Paul) Konerko, everybody should be able to (move) from first to third. Everybody should be able to take out a second baseman or a shortstop to give us an extra at-bat."

Baines, 54, has spent the past seven years as the Sox's first base coach after spending the 2004-05 seasons as bench coach under Ozzie Guillen. Baines will work with hitting coach Jeff Manto.

With more teams adding the position of assistant hitting coach, Baines' appointment comes as little surprise. Former Sox hitting coach Greg Walker said he occasionally would have Baines talk to the hitters and discuss his ''take what the pitcher gives you'' approach.

Baines ranks third among the Sox's all-time leaders in home runs, fourth in RBIs, fifth in doubles and sixth in hits.

"He and Jeff are fine," Ventura said. "Jeff is excited, too. That's one of the things you have to have, that guys believe in the same thing and can work together. It seemed to work last year."

The Sox also announced that third base coach Joe McEwing, bench coach Mark Parent, bullpen coach Mark Salas and Manto will return in 2013. Cooper starts the second year of a four-year contract.

Ventura said major league coach Mike Gellinger, who assisted Walker and Manto with videotape and drills, will continue to perform the same drills but could have his duties shifted to a role that allows him to spend more time at home.

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