GM praises Robin Ventura
CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams praised the job of first-year manager Robin Ventura on Monday, although he did admit questioning one move during Sunday's 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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"The catcher and the manager in baseball are the most second-guessed people on the field," Williams said prior to Monday's game with the Chicago Cubs. "You're always going to be able to pick at it here and there.
"Yesterday was the first little mini-discussion I had in regards to what the thought process was in a certain situation. And he always has good answers, though, when we discuss the happenings of the day."
Williams wouldn't elaborate, but he might have been referring to Ventura's decision to lift starter Jose Quintana after just 77 pitches with a 1-0 lead through eight innings. Closer Addison Reed came on in the ninth and yielded a run, and Matt Thornton gave up the winning run in the 10th.
"I'm trying to think what he talked to me about, maybe I wasn't listening," Ventura said with a laugh. "We haven't gone into it. Some of it with (Kosuke) Fukudome going on rehab assignment, and with (Zach Stewart) coming in (to start), you talk about different things going on.
"But for us, most of it has been guys being hurt and not the big stuff, gaining or subtracting people."
As far as Sunday, Ventura said: "You had yourself in a position to win it, and it just didn't happen. For me, I trust (Reed) going into the ninth inning. That's going to happen again, and he's going to go back out there.
"Nobody's ever been 100 percent being a closer. I still have confidence in him doing that, and the guys scoring runs. It just happens."
Williams had been questioned by some for his hiring of Ventura, who had no managerial experience, but Ventura has guided the White Sox to first place in the American League Central and a 35-31 record entering action Monday. Last season, the White Sox were 79-83 and finished 16 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.
Williams thought Ventura's calm presence has gone a long way with the White Sox's players. Those players were used to the more emotional style of Ozzie Guillen, who left the Sox for the Miami Marlins at the end of last season.
"It's pretty obvious we're in position to compete for a division championship," Williams said. "It's a stability that we needed. He was the right guy at the right time, and I think his coaching staff is a complement to him and gives our players the best chance to just be who they are.
"I think you see a lot of guys who are just comfortable in that clubhouse and are motivated in that clubhouse to achieve for themselves, but for this staff as well."