A 'big fan' of La Russa, Giolito ready for 2021

December 2nd, 2020

CHICAGO -- Add White Sox ace to the list of players who have talked with Tony La Russa since his return as manager on Oct. 29.

And Giolito has liked what he has heard.

“We didn't get into too many specifics, but I am a big fan of his coaching philosophy,” Giolito said during a video call with reporters Tuesday. “What he was talking about, what he wants to bring to the team starting Day 1 of Spring Training. Having Tony La Russa as our manager, one of the most decorated managers in the history of baseball, there's not much to complain about there.”

Giolito’s praise for the new White Sox manager was matched by his positive words for Rick Renteria, who parted ways with Chicago after a 35-25 season that led to its first postseason appearance since 2008, concluding his four-year tenure.

Giolito repeated a story from '18, when the right-hander had a 6.13 ERA over 32 starts and Renteria was providing confidence for him when he was struggling to find some within himself.

“I had a really bad start, and then we got into wherever, like Minnesota, and I happened to be in the same elevator with [Renteria], and he kind of grabs me and whispers in my ear, ‘You're going to be an All-Star, just keep at it, keep that confidence up,’” Giolito said. “And at the time I'm like, ‘C'mon, I've got like a 6.00 ERA.’

“That's just who he was. I think that me, as well as the other guys on the team, we will always be thankful for what Ricky did for us. He really showed us how to wear the White Sox uniform with pride, how to go about our work efficiently and effectively. Again, I wish Ricky nothing but the best in the future.”

Ethan Katz, who coached Giolito as far back as Harvard-Westlake High School in California more than a decade ago, has taken over as White Sox pitching coach. He replaces Don Cooper, who had served in the role since July 22, 2002.

The White Sox and Cooper parting ways after the 2020 campaign was a bit of a hit, per Giolito, and not something he was expecting.

“I'm obviously excited to be working with Ethan now, having him as our pitching coach, but I really, really loved Coop,” Giolito said. “I loved working with him. He was in my corner from the get-go.”

Katz has also been impressed by La Russa through their talks about Spring Training, which La Russa will be planning. And Giolito feels comfortable with the entire staff, and the entire team, as he's ready to build off last season's success.

“We’re in a very, very good position to win,” Giolito said. “At the end of the day, winning games is all that matters.

“With our coaching staff, with the players we have, how far we’ve come, kind of putting that all together, it puts us in a really, really good spot. Being in a good spot to kind of start having success makes me feel good.”