CHICAGO -- It figures someone would have to pay for the White Sox's awful season, and the first one to fall was hitting coach Jeff Manto.
General manager Rick Hahn announced after Saturday's 6-5 victory over the Royals that Manto had been relieved of his duties. Harold Baines will handle Manto's duties in Sunday's season finale.
"The decision to relieve him of his duties is not one we take lightly," Hahn said. "And it is not an indictment of his work ethic, his knowledge or how good of a baseball man he is."
Hahn said the rest of the coaching staff would remain intact. He already has a list of candidates to replace Manto and hopes to have a new hitting coach within the next couple of months.
"Beginning next week, we will begin contacting individuals both inside and outside the organization," Hahn said. "I don't think we are going to rule out anyone based on their background, however, as I sit here right now, I think the ideal candidate will very likely have experience in the position of hitting coach at the major league or minor league level."
Sox players sounded disappointed in the loss of their hitting coach.
"You're not going to find a harder working guy," Adam Dunn said of Manto. "You obviously can't fire all of us for what we did. I mean, the bad part about it is that we as a unit cost a man a job. That's hard to take."
Manto, 49, was completing his second season as the Sox hitting coach.
"It's never fun losing a coach, especially one that you have been working with all year," second baseman Gordon Beckham said. "It's a tough day; it's tough to see him go.
"When things don't go well in baseball, they shake things up. That's the hope, I guess, that a different voice can get people to hit. But Jeff can't go hit for us, so it's our fault."
Ventura was clearly emotional when discussing Manto's release. Manto joined the Sox organization on Nov. 1, 2007, as the minor league hitting coordinator.
"For me, these are guys that I came in with," Ventura said. "I know the work that he did and everything that went into it. Sometimes it doesn't translate into what people see, but I know what he was trying to do and I respect that and I thank him for it because it's tough."
The Sox snapped a four-game losing streak Saturday and will avoid a 100-loss season. Erik Johnson was the winning pitcher and Addison Reed earned his 40th save.
The Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on back-to-back homers by Marcus Semien and Jordan Danks. Dunn slugged his 34th homer in the third to make it 4-0.
Pick to click: Ventura said he likes the Tigers' chances when the AL playoffs start.
"Offensively they're the best team we have faced," Ventura said. "They're a tough lineup to get through and I think if (Miguel Cabrera) is healthy, that becomes a big issue for them."
Last stand: Sunday is Fan Appreciation Day at U.S. Cellular Field. Baines and Ron Kittle will sign autographs before the game.
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