Rowson to focus on building relationships

Rowson to focus on building relationships

CHICAGO -- James Rowson was surprised to get a call that the Cubs needed him to take over as hitting coach for the remainder of the season, replacing Rudy Jaramillo, who was dismissed on Tuesday.

Rowson, who was the Cubs' Minor League hitting coordinator, met some of the players in Spring Training. His toughest task?

"I feel like it's just building relationships," Rowson said. "While I'm here, I'm just going to start learning these guys, talking to them, getting to know them and building relationship. That's the way it usually works. The stronger relationship you build, the better off it works."

This was his first season with the Cubs after spending six seasons in the Yankees' organization.

"He's obviously a fresh face, a guy who has worked extremely hard," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Rowson. "He's a 24/7 guy who works extremely hard, knows mechanics and has a way of talking about things."

Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, said Jason McLeod, the scouting and player development director, knew Rowson and recommended him. Epstein said Rowson, was "very articulate, very engaging, and showed the ability to connect with the modern player, understood the role, understood the overall hitting approach."

Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair worked with Rowson this spring.

"I worked with James in Spring Training and had a lot of good conversations with him about hitting," LaHair said. "I don't see it being too big of a change for us. He brings a lot of confidence.

"It's a sad day," LaHair said about losing Jaramillo. "He's like a family member. Any time a player or a coach goes, it's not easy."

Epstein said they aren't expecting Rowson to make immediate changes.

"[Jaramillo] didn't do anything wrong," Epstein said. "We're all accountable for our offensive performance. You have to make a tough decision when there's a gap between where you are and where you want to be."

What's Rowson's philosophy?

"I think it's individual," Rowson said. "We'll talk to each of these guys as individuals, get to know them, they'll have their own plan."