MINNEAPOLIS — Jose Abreu said Sunday his manager isn’t to blame for the team’s woes; it’s the players.
The White Sox slugger came out in strong support of Robin Ventura before Sunday’s game. Now in his fourth season, Ventura has been the focal point of fan criticism on sports talk shows and social media as the White Sox have sputtered out to an 8-13 start this season. But Abreu said the team’s struggles are more about what has transpired on the field than anything involving the dugout.
“We cannot blame Robin,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “It’s our fault because we are the ones who are playing. We are the people who are in the field. Just for us, we are not doing the things right.
“If the people want someone to blame, it’s the players, not Robin. He’s doing what he can do, but the results aren’t there.”
The White Sox offense is last in the American League in a number of major categories. They have scored three runs or fewer 13 times in 21 games.
The team’s starting pitching hasn’t been consistent, either. And the White Sox have performed poorly on the bases and in the field.
Though Ventura appreciates Abreu’s statement, he stressed that everyone needs to improve.
“In the end you just need to play better,” Ventura said. “I don’t think anybody is sitting around here and pointing fingers at somebody. It’s a team game we play and we all have to do our part, I do, the players do, everybody does. It’s not a time to sit there and point fingers, it’s a time to play better and they know that time is coming and they have to continue to grind and get through rough patches and you realize what’s there and what guys are capable of.”
Ventura’s aware there have been calls for his job. But he said he can’t allow himself to be distracted by something out of his control.
“It doesn’t help us today trying to win a game,” Ventura said. “The focus today is trying to win today, not anything that’s happening in the future. For all these guys we’re focused on what we’re doing today.”
Ventura’s ability to stay level is what has made him popular with his players since he took over as the club’s manager in 2012. Abreu is just the latest to endorse Ventura for treating players like professionals.
“I really love to play for Robin because he’s a friend, he’s a brother, he’s like a father in some situations,” Abreu said. “He lets you play your game. That’s good. Something that in baseball, if you are a good person, that doesn’t translate that you are going to be successful every time. He’s very good. I love to play for him.”