Hahn expects Ventura to return next season - NBC Sports

Hahn expects Ventura to return next season
APWF
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Axelrod, right, hands the ball off to manager Robin Ventura in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, in Cleveland. Axelrod pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up five runs and eight hits. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
September 27, 2013, 8:18 pm

CHICAGO (AP) It looks as if Robin Ventura will manage the Chicago White Sox again next season. It's still unclear if Paul Konerko will be on Ventura's lineup card.

General manager Rick Hahn said Friday he expects Ventura to return in 2014, and he plans to give Konerko some time to decide whether he wants to play next year.

The White Sox are last in the AL Central at 62-97 heading into the season's final weekend. They need to win their last three games to avoid their most losses since finishing a franchise-worst 56-106 in 1970.

It's a much different finish than Ventura's first season as manager, when Chicago won 85 games and contended for the division title.

"I think he's met the challenges that this team has put in front of him the last two years - the good and the bad - extremely well," Hahn said. "At the end of the day, managers and coaches are judged . results matter, but it's also about communication, enthusiasm and the ability to get the most out of players.

"We've certainly had some challenges here, but I think Robin has met all of them very well."

Ventura, who has another year left on his contract, said he has been focused on getting things turned around next season for some time.

"I'm motivated to be back and happy to come back and turn this around," he said before the White Sox faced the Kansas City Royals. "For our conversations that we've had for a while, we're kind of planning for the future and assessing.

"Again, when we start trading guys at the deadline, the rest of the season sort of becomes at that point you're evaluating and figuring out how to move forward."

The 37-year-old Konerko is batting .248 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs in one of the worst seasons of his 17-year career. The first baseman is eligible for free agency and plans to take a month off before weighing his options about potentially playing one more season.

Konerko was acquired in a trade with Cincinnati in 1998 and has played for the White Sox for 15 years.

"It's all underneath the premise that there's a choice, there's an option, that they want me to come back yet; I don't know that," Konerko said. "I haven't talked to the White Sox formally, we haven't spoken about anything."

The uncertainty surrounding Konerko means Sunday's season finale could be his last game in a White Sox uniform.

"It's crossed my mind," he acknowledged. "I could play Sunday, get two or three at-bats or play the whole game and then find out a month from now that was it."

Hahn said he'll honor Konerko's request for time to decide about next season, and praised the slugger's contributions to the franchise.

"(Konerko) helped define and continues to define what it means to wear the White Sox uniform and represent himself both on and off the field professionally and in the community, how we want our players to be," he said. "Whenever the time comes, I hope he looks back at his time here with a great deal of pride because he should, he was and is and perhaps will continue to be a tremendous White Sox."

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