White Sox

Looking back at Robin Ventura's career timeline

Looking back at Robin Ventura's career timeline

Robin Ventura announced after Sunday’s game he won’t return as White Sox manager, ending a five-year return tenure on the South Side in which his teams went 375-435. A look back at the 49-year-old’s career timeline:

1986: Ventura leads college baseball with 96 RBIs as a freshman at Oklahoma State. 
1987: As a sophomore, shatters an NCAA record with a 58-game hitting streak with the Cowboys. 
1988: Ventura wins a gold medal with the United States baseball team at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. 
1988: Ventura is drafted with the 10th overall pick by the White Sox and signs on Oct. 21. 
1989: After hitting .278 with 67 RBIs as a 21-year-old in Double-A, Ventura goes 1-4 with an RBI in his major league debut Sept. 12 in Baltimore. 

1990: Ventura endures a streak of 42 at-bats without a hit between April 18 and May 11, but still finishes seventh in AL Rookie of the Year voting. He finished his rookie season with a .699 OPS and five home runs. 
1991: A 23-home run, 100 RBI season vaults Ventura on to the national scene, and he wins the first of six Gold Gloves, including three in a row from 1991-1993. 
1992: Ventura earns the first of two All-Star game bids. 
1993: On Aug. 4, Ventura infamously charges Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and gets his head pounded in by the then-Rangers pitcher. He also draws a career-high 105 walks and strikes out only 82 times in 669 plate appearances as the White Sox reach the American League Championship Series. 
1996: Ventura blasts a career high 34 home runs with an .888 OPS. 

1997: A gruesome compound fracture in his ankle suffered during spring training keeps Ventura sidelined until late July, though he still manages a .799 OPS and six home runs in his abbreviated season. 
1998: In his final year with the White Sox, Ventura racks up 5.8 WAR — just shy of a career high — and hits 21 home runs. He’s granted free agency after the season and signs a five-year, $36.5 million deal with the New York Mets. 
1999: Ventura puts together a career year, hitting 32 home runs with 120 RBIs, a .908 OPS and 7.1 WAR. He famously hits the “grand slam single,” to beat Atlanta in Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS. 

2000: A balky shoulder lands Ventura on the disabled list and limits his effectiveness in Year 2 with the Mets, as he’s only worth 1.9 WAR and hits a career-worst .232. 
2001: On Dec. 7, Ventura is shipped across town in a trade with the Yankees for outfielder David Justice. He finishes his three years with the Mets with 77 home runs and an .828 OPS. 
2002: Ventura earns his second All-Star appearance with a torrid first half — 19 home runs, 62 RBIs and an .878 OPS — though tails off in the second half of the season. 
2003: In a deadline deal, the Yankees trade Ventura to the Dodgers for outfielder Bubba Crosby and right-hander Scott Proctor. Ventura hits .220 with five home runs in 49 games as Los Angeles’ playoff push falls short. 
2004: Ventura is relegated to a reserve role behind Adrian Beltre, who hits 48 home runs and finishes second in NL MVP voting. The 36-year-old plays his final major league game on Oct. 2, going 0-3 with a walk against San Francisco. He finishes his 16-year career with 294 home runs, 1,182 RBIs, an .806 OPS and 56.7 WAR. 

2010: Ventura works on ESPN's broadcast team for the College World Series and Little League World Series. 

2011: The White Sox hire Ventura as a special advisor for player development on June 6. Four months later, he’s hired to replace Ozzie Guillen as the club’s manager and signs a three-year contract. 
2012: In his first year as manager, Ventura’s White Sox win 85 games and fall just shy of winning the AL Central. The White Sox were leading the division with nine games remaining, but wound up losing the division by three games to the Detroit Tigers. 
2013: The White Sox lose 99 games, their highest total since 1970, and finish 30 games out of first place. 
2014: Despite the dismal 2013 showing, Ventura signs a multi-year extension during SoxFest in January. The White Sox go on to a 73-89 record that summer.
2015: With expectations high after the offseason acquisitions of Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson and Melky Cabrera, Ventura’s White Sox get off to a slow start and never recover. The White Sox finish with a 76-86 record, meaning for the first time in franchise history they employed a manager for three consecutive losing seasons.

2016: The White Sox go 23-10 in their first 33 games and look like legitimate contenders in the American League Central. But after peaking with a 6 1/2-game division lead May 9, the White Sox go on to lose 10 of their next 11 series. While the White Sox made a late June/early July push, the summer was marred by a clubhouse incident involving Chris Sale destroying the team’s throwback jerseys and later criticizing Ventura for how he handled it. Ventura on Sunday announced that he won’t return as manager after the White Sox finished the season 78-84, the franchise’s fourth consecutive losing season. 

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

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USA TODAY

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

For the first time since new rules came into effect in 2005, the White Sox will reportedly see a major league player suspended for violating baseball’s ban on performance-enhancing drugs.

Welington Castillo, the team’s biggest offseason addition, will be suspended for 80 games, according to a pair of reports.

Manager Rick Renteria said after Wednesday's win over the visiting Baltimore Orioles that he couldn't comment on the reports. Castillo played in Wednesday's game, during which the news broke.

"For me, those at this particular moment are rumors," Renteria said. "MLB is the one that is in charge of that type of stuff. Until they release anything officially I can’t really comment on that."

The veteran catcher, slashing .267/.309/.466 with six home runs and 15 RBIs in 33 games this season, was brought in over the winter to help the rebuilding White Sox in both the short and long term. He had a career year offensively and defensively in 2017, and he was acquired to help develop a young pitching staff featuring big pieces of the future like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, and also to swing a solid bat and help this young team learn how to win.

If Castillo proves productive over the course of his two-year deal, the White Sox have a team option that could keep Castillo on the South Side for the 2020 season. That could make him a piece of the puzzle for when the rebuild reaches its apex and the team is ready to start contending for championships. But this news has the potential to change that dramatically.

Zack Collins and Seby Zavala are both having strong offensive seasons at Double-A Birmingham and figure to be the long-term answers behind the plate. But Castillo’s absence from any long-term picture could leave the White Sox without a veteran safety net in the years ahead, depending on how the team decides to react to this news now and in the coming seasons.

Castillo’s absence for the next 80 games could also have an impact on the development of aforementioned pitchers like Giolito and Lopez. Lopez, in particular, has been throwing really well this season, and Giolito has control issues to work through, as he leads the American League in walks. Without the veteran catcher brought in to help those guys transition to the major league level, how will the transition change for those two pitchers?

Omar Narvaez would be the logical choice to take over as the No. 1 catcher. As for who could take Castillo's place on the major league roster, the options are limited. Kevan Smith, who was edged out by Narvaez for the backup-catching job in spring training, is on the disabled list at Triple-A Charlotte, placed there Tuesday. The aforementioned Zavala is also injured at Double-A Birmingham, and it seems far too early to rush Collins to the big leagues. Alfredo Gonzalez is a catcher on the roster at Charlotte. A spot on the 40-man roster would need to be freed up to bring him to Chicago.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

SportsTalk Live is on location for White Sox Authentic Fan Night. Phil Rogers (MLB Network), Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David DeJesus and Ozzie Guillen join Kap to talk about Manny Machado Mania, Anthony Rizzo’s struggles and the White Sox plans for calling up their best prospects. 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: