White Sox begin post-Ozzie Guillen era
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For the first time since 2003, the Chicago White Sox opened training camp on Wednesday without Ozzie Guillen, and while no one knows what to expect from first-year manager Robin Ventura, players agreed the clubhouse won't be as boisterous.
"He's definitely a big, strong personality -- that'll be gone," third baseman Brent Morel said. "But we're all happy to have Robin here. He'll fit in just fine."
Gone will be headlines about Guillen feuding with general manager Ken Williams. Guillen's candor, whether it was directed at the media, the organization or himself, won't be there to shift attention from the team. During losing streaks and down times, Guillen's ability to draw attention to himself probably came in handy.
What also will be missing is Chicago's only World Series-winning manager since 1917. Guillen left for the Miami Marlins at the end of last season.
"I don't look at it necessarily that I'm replacing him, but I can only look at it as I'm just happy to be in this position with the White Sox," said Ventura, who's received encouragement from Guillen. "Again, you're talking about a guy who played here, managed, won a World Series. Until that stuff happens, I'm just proud of what he did and we just move forward."
Chris Sale is entering his third season in the majors, so the only manager he knows is Guillen. But he knows enough to understand that Ventura's personality is quite a bit different.
"I don't think he's going to be as loud and entertaining as Ozzie," Sale said. "But he's got a good head on his shoulders. He's very knowledgeable about the game and is ready to move forward."
Players got a sample size at Sox Fest last month of what's to come under the new managerial regime, as Ventura starts camp with new hitting coach Jeff Manto, bench coach Mark Parent and third base coach Joe McEwing. Pitching coach Don Cooper also returns. This is the first managerial job at any level for Ventura.
Pitchers Gavin Floyd, Phillip Humber, Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton and Sale, plus Morel, all addressed the media on Wednesday morning, and all agreed that Ventura will be a good fit as the White Sox begin a new era.
"Just being around him I think he's going to be a fun guy to be around," Humber said. "I think he's got a real laid-back personality. He's got a good sense of humor.
"As far as the Xs and Os, I don't know. I don't know if he knows. It's his first time so everyone has to adjust as they go. But I know he knows the game very well. I know he was a great player. I've heard other guys say if they had to pick a guy who they played with to be a manager he would be they guy. That's high praise coming from his teammates."
Publicly, players didn't harbor any ill feelings toward Guillen. Sale, who moves to the starting rotation after an impressive season in long relief, was appreciative of what the former manager did for him.
"Ozzie's a great guy, I love him," Sale said. "He gave me nothing but opportunities. He fought for me. He was awesome. I loved playing for Ozzie, but like I said before it's a new year. We've got a new face in that manager's office and we're ready to move forward."