Robin Ventura can’t see a long-term tenure as Sox manager
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com September 29, 2012 10:14PM
B.J. Upton is tagged out at home plate by A.J. Pierzynski to end the fourth inning at U.S. Cellular Field, September 29, 2012. | Dom Najolia~Sun-Times
RAYS AT SOX
The facts: 1:10, CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The starters: David Price (18-5, 2.58 ERA) vs. Jose Quintana (6-5, 3.60)
Updated: November 1, 2012 9:50AM
A surprise choice a year ago to manage the Sox, Robin Ventura has received high marks for his first season on the job. Ventura restored peace and calm in the organization and kept a team that wasn’t picked to win in first place for 117 days.
An even bigger stunner than Ventura’s hiring would be his going “one-and-done” and not returning after this season with two left on his contract. Ventura has just the kind of California demeanor to return to the normal family life he was enjoying as long as chairman Jerry Reinsdorf gave his blessing.
But contrary to recent rumblings that such a scenario could unfold, Ventura told the Sun-Times on Saturday that he wants to return. The subject indirectly came up during his pregame media session when he was asked if he sees himself managing as long as Walter Alston or Tommy Lasorda. His answer did nothing to defuse speculation that he wasn’t in love with the job.
“No, I can’t,’’ Ventura said. “Those guys did it a long time, and I’m hoping to get through this one [season].’’
Asked to clarify that later, Ventura said that he wants to keep managing. But not for 20 years like Lasorda.
“As long as they want me, yes,’’ Ventura said.
There doesn’t seem to be much doubt about that.
If the Sox are a must-win situation on the last day of the season Wednesday — a scenario that gets more unlikely with each passing late-September loss — Gavin Floyd would be in line for the start in Cleveland. While not ruling out the possibility of bringing Chris Sale back on three days’ rest, it’s unlikely considering the Sox are pushing the limit on the 23-year-old ace. Sale threw 82 pitches in 31/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season.
“You would hesitate because you have to see what he does today and how it goes,’’ Ventura said. “The mentality of what I know of these guys is everybody will want to pitch. I’ll have plenty of choices.’’
Jose Quintana starts the series finale on Sunday and likely will be followed by Hector Santiago on Monday in Cleveland, although Ventura hadn’t made Santiago an official choice. Francisco Liriano, who struggled in his last start, is another option.
The loss was the Sox’ ninth in the last 11 games. Cleanup man Paul Konerko flied out three times, falling to 7-for-46 in his last 13 games, but he’s not alone among struggling Sox in September.
A sampling of September numbers: Konerko .239 (10 RBI), Dayan Viciedo .238 (11 RBI), A.J. Pierzynski .233 (five RBI), Kevin Youkilis .226 (eight RBI), Adam Dunn .220 (six RBI in 17 games).
The Sox are 11-16 this month after going 11-11 in April, 18-11 in May, 13-14 in June, 14-11 in July and 16-12 in August.
This and that
Sox pitchers tied a season high with 15 strikeouts.
◆ Sale’s loss was his first at home since May 12 against Kansas City.
◆ Alejandro De Aza was a late scratch with flu-like symptoms. Dewayne Wise started in center and led off.