Delmonico among White Sox Minors, player development hires

February 2nd, 2022

CHICAGO -- Nicky Delmonico always knew there would be a career transition for him from baseball player to coach.

But it was the 29-year-old’s body that told him the time for change was sooner rather than later, and on Wednesday, Delmonico was announced as the new hitting coach for High-A Winston-Salem, the White Sox affiliate. Delmonico listed off some of the physical maladies he dealt with as a player during a Zoom that afternoon.

“I’ve had a bone spur in my right elbow," Delmonico said. "Meniscus in one of my knees [left], labrum, rotator cuff and then just broken bones along the way. If I were to continue to play, I probably needed to get knee surgery on my other knee and maybe go in and repair my right shoulder. But yeah, it was a grind for sure.”

Delmonico played 158 games and had 574 plate appearances at the Major League level from 2017-20, all were with the White Sox. He slashed .224/.312/.384 with 18 home runs, 17 doubles, 57 RBIs and 62 runs scored before he finished his playing career in the Reds’ Minor League system last season.

At that point, the always popular clubhouse figure reached out to Chris Getz, the White Sox assistant general manager/player development, and mentioned an interest in coaching. That sort of feel runs in his blood as the son of Rod Delmonico, who was the head baseball coach at Tennessee from 1990-2007 and was manager for the Netherlands in the '09 World Baseball Classic.

“I grew up around coaching," Delmonico said. "I grew up in the dugout, so it was something I always loved to do. I always looked up to my dad and I kind of loved that aspect more than playing. I knew it was going to be in the future for me. I just didn’t know when.

“Last year was the first time I was really itching to become a coach. I just wasn’t in the mindset to play anymore. It was kind of just that feeling, 'I want to get on the other side of the game.' I’m lucky it was this quick and I didn’t have to wait two or three years, [that] I could jump back in and be a part of the clubhouse and the everyday grind.”

The White Sox announced their full 2022 player development staff on Wednesday, with Jasmine Dunston, the daughter of one-time Cubs shortstop Shawon Dunston, joining the organization to take over as the new director of Minor League operations. Dunston replaces Grace Guerrero Zwit, who retired from the club as the senior director of Minor League operations.

Zwit worked in the White Sox operations department for 40 seasons, including the last 14 as senior director. She was hired by Roland Hemond and Dave Dombrowski in 1982 as an assistant in the player development and scouting departments.

Wes Helms (Triple-A Charlotte), Justin Jirschele (Double-A Birmingham), Lorenzo Bundy (Winston-Salem), Guillermo Quiroz (Low-A Kannapolis) and Patrick Leyland (Arizona White Sox) will serve as the 2022 managers in the White Sox system. Bundy begins his 13th season as a Minor League manager and his first with the White Sox, while Leyland, the son of former Major League manager Jim Leyland, makes his managerial debut after serving as Kannapolis' bench coach last season.

Danny Farquhar is the Dash’s pitching coach. He previously played with Delmonico with the White Sox and now will coach with him.

“It’s going to be awesome to work with him on a day-to-day basis, [to] be in the dugout,” Delmonico said. “As [the] manager that I would want to be one day, I feel like he’s going to be a great guy to learn how to run a bullpen and that side of the pitching aspect [from]. It’s going to be a great year and a great learning experience. I’m excited.”

That experience began for Delmonico during instructional league, where he did a little bit of everything for the White Sox. His hitting coach employment could become the first step to a future managerial role, if Delmonico’s career path materializes.

“I’ve always said that is probably my calling. I feel like I can handle a clubhouse and motivate guys,” Delmonico said. “But I’m fortunate enough to be a hitting coach where I can see the other side and study from our manager and see what he does on a day-to-day basis.

“I’m going to take notes and kind of pick his brain when I’m there in High-A, see what he does on a day-to-day basis and write down what I like and what I wouldn't do. I do want to be a manager one day, so it will be a cool situation to be a hitting coach and see how the other side is run.”