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WSI News - News Watch

No jobs secure

Jerry Manuel's friend got the hook on Monday when the White Sox relieved Nardi Contreras as pitching coach. Not only are the White Sox manager and Contreras close, but their wives are also best of friends.

"Any time you have to come in and call a friend and say, 'Hey, they might try something different,' that's difficult," Manuel said. "I think he understands what we're trying to accomplish here and he might be better for [leaving]."

But will Gary Pettis and Gary Ward, general manager Ken Williams' friends on the coaching staff, be held responsible for the team's notable problems on the basepaths and hitting in the clutch?

"Getting back to that bottom line, we are an underachieving ballclub," Williams said. "We should be in a much better situation than we are as we get ready to play the leaders of the division. We're not there, so everybody is under review."

That presumably would include Pettis, who is in charge of the Sox baserunners. Williams called the Sox's baserunning "atrocious," but absolved Pettis of any blame. He pointed to a situation last week in Detroit when catcher Brandon Inge picked Carlos Lee off first base in the seventh inning of a one-run game.

"It's awfully difficult when you lean over to a guy and tell him in his ear that this particular catcher will throw back to first base," Williams said. "[Pettis told Lee to] be careful, we can't get doubled up in this situation. Don't get too far out. And then, the very next pitch, [Lee] gets picked off.

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