DETROIT — The third-base coach is at his best when he goes unnoticed. That’s how it has been for Joe McEwing, who returned to the box when Tony La Russa was hired to manage the White Sox this season.
If anything, McEwing’s wave work has been noted for his aggressive, successful sends. He likes being in the fire again after serving as former manager Rick Renteria’s bench coach in 2017-20.
”Your heart is beating again,” McEwing said.
McEwing does his homework before every series, studying video on the way outfielders move, throw and close on balls and noting their throwing accuracy. He takes notice of how infielders handle relay throws if they’re pulled left or right and how well they recover with accuracy.
”Visually, I have already played it through before it happens,” McEwing said. ”A lot of it depends on your baserunning, as well. Medically where they are at, where you have to push or pull back.”
”Joe is the man,” bench coach Miguel Cairo said. ”He’s so prepared. I’ve learned so much from him.”
McEwing, who coached third in 2012-16 under then-manager Robin Ventura, was hard-pressed to think of a send he wants back. One that came to mind was when Andrew Vaughn was dead to rights a couple of weeks ago against the Rays, but he lucked out when the throw got through catcher Francisco Mejia.
McEwing has interviewed for seven managerial jobs, most recently for the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization last fall.
When La Russa retired from the Cardinals in 2011, McEwing was asked to interview for that job. He also has interviewed with the Mets, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Twins and Tigers.
”I told [Sox vice president] Kenny [Williams] and [general manager] Rick [Hahn] that if the opportunity presented itself [with another team], I’d be willing to listen,” McEwing said. ”But don’t think I’m pounding the pavement looking for something else out there. I’ve been fortunate to be here my whole career, with an outstanding organization that has treated me unbelievable.”
The job in Korea ”was a very intriguing opportunity,” McEwing said, ”if it made sense for my family.”
”To go over and learn a different culture and perspective, the way they go about it baseball-wise and culturally, I’m always out to learn and continue to grow,” he said.
Burr stays on roll
Reliever Ryan Burr (0.00 ERA) got squeezed — according to Statcast — on a pair of pivotal calls by umpire Tom Hallion, which resulted in the ejection of pitching coach Ethan Katz, and walked a batter with the bases loaded while trying to pitch out of starter Dallas Keuchel’s mess during the Tigers’ four-run fifth inning. But Burr struck out Miguel Cabrera and Eric Haase to extend his scoreless-innings streak to 14.
Burr has bounced back from making the Opening Day roster in 2019, then having Tommy John surgery, getting non-tendered and signing a minor-league deal.
”To be part of a team competing for a playoff spot is incredible,” he said. ”I always knew in my heart I would be back here.”
Keuchel (6-3, 4.48 ERA) had his worst start of the season, allowing seven runs, seven hits and three walks in four-plus innings.
The pivotal play was center fielder Billy Hamilton allowing Haase’s liner to skip past him for a three-run, inside-the-park home run in the fourth. Haase added a three-run homer against reliever Jace Fry, who was making his season debut, in the seventh.