CHICAGO -- San Diego Padres outfielder Will Venable says the Chicago Cubs made a "great hire" in choosing former Padres bench coach Rick Renteria as their next manager.
"He's a guy that knows the game as much as anyone I've been around," Venable said via phone Thursday. "He's got a fire in him that you love having in the clubhouse ... More than anything he's a teacher. He wants you to learn the game, he wants you to play the game the right way."
Venable has been with the Padres since 2008, the same year Renteria was promoted to major league coach. In 2011, Renteria was named bench coach.
"Sometimes it means he has to be tough on you but those are things he was willing to do for you and the team," Venable said. "He's such a great leader."
Renteria received similar praise from colleagues, including former Cubs outfielder Jacque Jones, who is a coach in the Padres' minor league system.
"He's energetic," Jones said. "He loves what he does. He's fair. The Cubs are getting a good guy to get that done over there ... You know what you're going to get and where you stand. I'm sure the players will give everything they have."
The Cubs made it known they had an interest in managerial candidates who worked well with Latin-American players, as the organization has several key Spanish-speaking players making their way through the system. Venable says the bilingual Renteria had a "good line of communication" with the Latin American players on the Padres.
"He definitely was the voice of the coaching staff for that if something had to be addressed, if some of those guys had to be taken aside," Venable said.
Jones added: "And he was good as a go-between the players and [Padres manager] Buddy [Black] and when he saw something he didn't like, he addressed it."
Jones believes Renteria's experience managing Team Mexico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic -- which included a victory over Team USA -- was good for his development.
"With his demeanor, he'll be fine," Jones said. "He handled managing for Team Mexico just fine. And I think he learned a lot under Buddy."