- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Much will be learned about Robin Ventura’s managerial style in the upcoming year, but the area he might be able to make an instant impact seems fairly clear.
Ventura’s initial pet project might to be to assist in the development of White Sox third baseman Brent Morel. Ventura was a six-time Gold Glove winner and a two-time All-Star.
“I expect to learn as much as I can,” Morel said about his new manager. “I will take what he gives me in small doses and hopefully transfer it into something big.”
The two have plenty in common other than being third basemen for the White Sox. Both have ties to California’s central coast area and have come in contact with each other even before Morel was a member of the White Sox organization.
Morel said that when he played baseball at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Ventura met with the team on more than one occasion. Ventura lives in nearby Santa Maria.
“I grew up watching him, but I didn’t play third base then or see many Chicago games in California,” Morel said. “But playing in Chicago you learn so much about the history of the White Sox and know what kind of player he was, what kind of hitter he was, a Gold Glove winner, and hopefully that can transfer over.”
When dealing with Morel, Ventura can tap into his experience from last year when he offered instruction to White Sox minor-league players as a special assistant to White Sox director of player development Buddy Bell.
As far as what he can tap into as manager, he played under some of the big names in the game like Jeff Torborg, Bobby Valentine, Joe Torre and Jim Tracy, to name a few.
“I ran the gamut of different styles, from smart baseball men and seeing different ways to communicate just to get guys to play,” Ventura said.
But most of all, Ventura aims to create an environment where players find it second nature to come to the ballpark every day and leave it all on the field. That approach works for Morel.
“Not speaking for anybody else, I was excited when I heard his name,” Morel said. “Knowing his personality and background, it will make for a smooth transition.”