GLENDALE, Ariz. — Rick Renteria has experience in his current role and a good sense of what the White Sox hope to receive from him.
Headed into his fourth season as a bench coach, including the first with the White Sox, Renteria said Sunday he looks forward to working with manager Robin Ventura, who is entering his fifth season. Though the former Cubs manager could be a candidate to head up his own club as soon as next season, including perhaps even this one, Renteria said he hasn’t thought that far ahead. The longtime coach is merely worried about his role with the White Sox, one he knows very well after serving as bench coach of the San Diego Padres from 2011 to 2013. Renteria, who managed the Cubs in 2014 before they fired him to hire Joe Maddon, also served as the Padres’ first-base coach from 2008 to 2010.
“You’re all looking to do the same thing, looking to make sure that everybody is on the same page,” Renteria said. “Make no mistake about it, Robin is the manager. If he needs something from me, I’m here to be a sounding board. If there’s something I see that he might be involved in something else, I might mention it to him. But for the most part, I’m just here to be a sounding board and give him some information. Like everything, we get so much information in the course of a series that you’re trying to clean it up and try to filter it and use the one that’s going to be the most appropriate for the moment. Sometimes you hit, sometimes you don’t, but you’re out there being prepared to do the best job you can.”
There’s little doubt Renteria would love to one day manage again. Some have speculated that the White Sox brought Renteria in to take over for Ventura, were the White Sox to get off to yet another poor start.
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But Renteria contends his next job isn’t a focus and it never has been. He feels like diverting his attention elsewhere would hurt what he hopes to accomplish with the White Sox, who initially contacted him shortly after he was let go by the Cubs in 2014.
When the team spoke to Renteria this offseason, two things were clear. The White Sox wanted a Spanish-speaking coach to deliver the correct message to players, and they intended to improve their base running, among other aspects.
Those are several of the areas Renteria has been heavily focused upon since the team’s first full-squad workout on Tuesday.
“The biggest thing that I can do is take every day one day at a time and focus on what my job is now,” Renteria said. “I’ve kind of always worked that way, I’ve never really looked beyond where I was at. I think all those things ultimately take care of themselves and right now my job is to collaborate with all the coaches in that room and all the players and hopefully look forward to having some fun and we can all enjoy it.”