Former big leaguer, White Sox scout Woods passes away

Played nine seasons, covered portion of Southern California

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Gary Woods, a former Major League player and White Sox scout since 2008, passed away Thursday at his home in Solvang, Calif. Woods was 60.

"That was surprising news to get, and certainly a damper to start things off with that," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, with the news of Woods' passing coming the night before pitchers and catchers reported to Camelback Ranch. "It was unfortunate. Gary was a real good teammate, a hard worker, obviously a former big leaguer, and he brought a special perspective to his evaluations.

"A lot of guys around here are in shock, including [White Sox manager] Robin [Ventura], who talked to him a few days ago. He lived over by Robin and covered that area. That's still a shock to all of us."

Woods covered the Southern California area north of Los Angeles for the White Sox. He also served as a coach for the Santa Barbara Foresters of the California Collegiate League, where he was part of five national championship teams.

A right-handed hitter, he played for the Cubs, Astros, Blue Jays and A's over a nine-year career primarily as an outfielder, a career that included a .348 average and .500 on-base percentage against Hall of Fame southpaw Steve Carlton.

Details on services are pending.

"Gary was a tremendous teammate and tireless worker," said White Sox assistant scouting director Nick Hostetler. "He had a passion for the game of baseball rivaled by no one. He will be missed by all of us who had the chance to work with him."

"I've known him quite a few years," Ventura said. "Even before, when I was younger, he was a scout for our area for a long time with the White Sox. That's tough news, the first day, to get. It's sad, shocking, all that stuff. He was a great guy."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.