Robin Ventura dismisses the notion of a voluntary exit
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org June 9, 2013 12:36AM
A’S AT SOX
The facts: 1:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The starters: A.J. Griffin (5-4, 3.67 ERA) vs. Hector Santiago (1-4, 3.40).
Updated: July 10, 2013 6:55AM
White Sox manager Robin Ventura put to rest Saturday speculation that he might not stay on in the face of the team’s struggles.
“For one reason or another there are whispers [that] because it’s going like this, I’m not going to come back. That’s the furthest thing from the truth,’’ he said.
“For me, I’m in it for as long as I’m in it, and then you go from there. With the situation like this, I’d be ashamed to walk away just because it’s tough.
“That’s part of being in it with these guys. I’m here as much as they are as far as turning it around and being ready to go.’’
Ventura is in the second year of a three-year contract. The team offered him an extension before the season, but he declined, saying he preferred to see the current deal through first.
Because Ventura had no coaching or managing experience when he was hired to replace Ozzie Guillen, there was speculation he might not want to remain in the job long term.
The team had a successful first season under Ventura, but injuries and hitting and defensive struggles have plagued the team this season.
Ventura said he intends to honor his contract.
“It’s one of those [situations] where I know I have my contract and it’s going to go to there, and then you talk from there,’’ he said. “But because of this [losing] situation, I’m not [going to leave].’’
Tony La Russa, who managed the 1983 division-winning Sox team being honored this season, is attending this weekend’s series against the Oakland Athletics, a team he also managed.
La Russa has remained close to Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf despite being fired in 1986 by then-general manager Ken Harrelson.
“The city has come to realize what a gift he is as an owner for both franchises [Sox and Bulls],’’ said La Russa, who is eligible for the Hall of Fame next year as a manager.
“This guy really cares,’’ he said of Reinsdorf. “He doesn’t want it for himself. He’s got a legion of friends and family like myself that he takes care of. I have no better friend than Jerry Reinsdorf and I pull hard for his teams — both of them.’’
La Russa spoke briefly to Ventura before the game.
“The season is six months,’’ he said of the Sox struggles. “If you’re good enough, and they’re good enough, they have plenty of time,’’ he said.
La Russa was joined Saturday by 1983 players Mike Squires, Ron Kittle, Greg Luzinski and Lamar Hoyt.
Former Sox and Cubs player Vance Law, a Sox special assistant in player development, has been working with the major-league team. But his attention was also on youngest son, Adam, a junior third baseman at BYU, who was drafted Saturday in the 12th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Adam would be the third-generation baseball player in the family. Grandfather Vernon Law pitched for 16 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates and was the Cy Young Award winner in 1960, also the year the Pirates won the World Series.