Cubs manager Rick Renteria fighting for his players
by gordon wittenmyer Staff Reporter April 30, 2014 10:25PM
CINCINNATI — Rick Renteria says it’s not about all the close games (mostly close losses) or the mounting frustrations with every losing week that piles up during his first season as the Cubs’ manager.
But in a season in which manager ejections are down across the majors — likely because of the new replay-challenge system — Renteria is the only manager who has been tossed twice. Both have been for challenging the strike zone from the dugout. Half the ejections in the majors are for arguing balls and strikes.
‘‘When any manager is having a discussion with umpires, he’s simply defending his players or what he believes they should be receiving,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘As far as the other guys getting calls or what have you, it’s more my concern of making sure that our players are on the same field, on the same playing field, getting the same balanced calls. . . . The umpires do a great job. It’s not an easy job.’’
Renteria wouldn’t be the first manager of a younger, lower-tier team to challenge an umpire’s perceived tendency to give the benefit of the doubt to All-Stars such as Joey Votto, Ryan Braun or Andrew McCutchen.
‘‘I don’t know that I would take that particular perspective,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘I just look at it as making sure that if I see something or if the coaches see something we feel should be corrected, [we do it]. It really has nothing to do with the opposition. It has more to do with what we’re trying to do and making sure that we just stand up for our guys when we have to.
‘‘You can’t do it all the time. I can’t imagine getting ejected every single game.’’
Even if he is on pace for 12 of 13 ejections this season.
‘‘I’m hoping not to break any records,’’ he said.
Starlin Castro went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a walk to finish April with a .308 batting average, a team-leading .471 slugging percentage and a team-leading 14 RBI.
◆ Edwin Jackson gave up four runs and couldn’t get out of the sixth inning, but he finished April with a 2-2 record and 5.24 ERA. He was 0-4 with a 6.27 ERA last April.
◆ Anthony Rizzo homered and walked four times, raising his on-base percentage 27 points to .407.