Paul Konerko: Change was for best

Updated: July 10, 2012, 9:09 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said Tuesday he believed Ozzie Guillen's departure and Robin Ventura's arrival to the team was best for everyone involved.

Guillen, a former White Sox player, left Chicago after eight years with the team following a tumultuous 2011 season. He's now managing the Miami Marlins. Ventura, also a former White Sox player, was hired to replace Guillen.

"I think Ozzie would even say what was going on last year with the distractions and all that wasn't what he wanted either," Konerko said on "The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show" on ESPN 1000. "I think he knows what's up and how to do it the right way. You just let some things get away from you.

"I think it's kind of worked out best for everybody. I know he's happy where he's at. It's just tough when the guy managing the team played there and has such a history. Everybody is intertwined with everything. ... It is what it is. I think everybody agreed and him as well that it was at the end point. That's where it was and here we are now."

Under Ventura, a first-time manager, the White Sox are 47-38 and hold a three-game lead in the American League Central at the All-Star break. Konerko gave Ventura a high grade for his first-half managing performance.

"It's been an A-plus," Konerko said. "He's come with the coaches early the spring and kind of let us know what they're looking for. They kind of go to each guy, 'This is kind of what we feel like you should be doing. This is where you're at. This is your fight.' Guys have bought into all that.

"Robin, he knows the game. He's a tough guy. He's a quiet guy, so sometimes people think he's easy, but he's really not. When something needs to be said, he can be stern. He can get his point across."

Konerko has seen differences and similarities in Guillen and Ventura.

"I think a lot of baseball stuff those guys have is very similar as far as what they value, what they think should be done," Konerko said. "Obviously their personalities are 180 (degrees) from each other."

Konerko wasn't sure if the White Sox would be the same team as it's been this season whether or not there had been a change in manager.

"We have a lot of young guys doing well, some older guys having good years and bouncing back," Konerko said. "You can sit around and say it would have happened no matter who is here or sit here and say it's because Robin is here and it's the atmosphere. Who knows? It could be a little bit of both. I don't know."

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.