White Sox

Robin Ventura steps down as White Sox manager

Robin Ventura steps down as White Sox manager

He doesn’t have any regrets, but Robin Ventura announced the end of his tenure as White Sox manager on Sunday afternoon.

Calling it a personal decision, Ventura stepped down as White Sox manager shortly after his team closed his fifth season with a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. Ventura — who finished with a 375-435 record and finished below .500 in four straight seasons — said he thought the club might be in need of a new voice. The team is expected to name current bench coach Rick Renteria its new manager in a press conference on Monday at 11 a.m.

“I just feel it’s the right time,” Ventura said. “I love being here. The organization means a lot to me. You can go as hard as you can and really the only thing you know is how you conduct your business and how you treat people. I’m good with that. 

“Talking to (general manager Rick Hahn) through September, you just realize right now is the right time to do it and you need somebody else.”

Ventura’s final season as White Sox manager will likely be remembered for several high-profile incidents that took place within the clubhouse, namely the abrupt and public retirement of Adam LaRoche and Chris Sale’s five-game suspension for destruction of team property. While those incidents may have caused him some stress, Ventura said it was the team’s collapse after a 23-10 start that was the most difficult to deal with. Ravaged by key injuries, underperformance and a lack of depth to handle those issues, the White Sox fell apart in mid-May and never recovered.

“What's hardest is we started off so well, so you had the optimism that was there that you were going to keep that rolling and then it didn't continue,” Ventura said. “That's the hardest stuff. The other stuff, it just happens. There's probably stuff that happens all over the place that's like that. But that had nothing to do it with being tougher.”

Though he made the determination he wouldn’t return over the course of September, Ventura held off on an announcement until after the season concluded. Ventura said he wanted his players’ focus to remain on the field where it belonged and didn’t want to detract from that. Ventura addressed his team prior to Sunday’s game to inform them of his decision.

“You have that thing you grow up with from your parents that when you start something you do it,” Ventura said. “If you get fired, that’s one thing. But I knew I was going to finish what I signed up to do. And I did that.”

Ventura has no plans to take another job within the organization and for now has no designs to manage again. Once questioned whether or not he wanted to be the team’s manager, Ventura said he’d say “yes again” if he had to do it all over. Ventura lamented the lack of team victories but enjoyed the job.

“You just do what you can do and how you conduct yourself,” Ventura said. “It’s not like they’re going to be building a statue or putting a statue out on the concourse. You do what you can and that’s all you can really do.”

Dylan Cease shows off big velocity in first spring training start

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USA TODAY

Dylan Cease shows off big velocity in first spring training start

Dylan Cease is entering the 2020 season with plenty to prove. Considering how important he is to the future of the White Sox, it is perhaps fitting he was the first White Sox pitcher to take a mound in a spring training game.

On Saturday, Cease pitched two innings against the Cincinnati Reds as he ramps up to full strength. The most notable thing wasn’t how long he pitched or what his stat line was. It was his fastball.

Cease's fastball sat mostly at 96-98 mph and topped at 99. Cease quipped there could be a bit more in terms of his velocity.


Cease averaged 96.5 mph on his fastball in the majors in 2019. In 73 innings, he threw nine pitches that were at least 99 mph, topping out at 100.1 mph, according to Baseball Savant. He was capable of throwing that hard, but didn't do it often. For Cease to be on the higher end of his average and feature a 99 mph fastball in his first pitches of Cactus League baseball might be a sign that he could have added a touch more velocity.

It’s also just a two-inning spring training start, meaning Cease knew he could let fly a bit more in a shorter outing. Cease told reporters after his start he was focusing on his fastball command. He struck out three with no walks and three hits allowed.

In his rookie season, Cease struggled with command and consistency. He had a 5.79 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 35 walks over 14 starts.

February baseball doesn't carry any meaning, but this is a small encouraging sign for Cease.

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Kenny Williams shuts down rumor connecting free agent Yasiel Puig to White Sox

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USA TODAY

Kenny Williams shuts down rumor connecting free agent Yasiel Puig to White Sox

You can put to bed the rumors about free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig possibly signing with the White Sox. It’s not happening.

The two sides did get together during the MLB Winter Meetings in December. Kenny Williams, Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria met with Puig for about 90 minutes to discuss the possibility of the 29-year-old joining the White Sox as their everyday right fielder.

But instead, the White Sox chose to take a different route. That same week, they acquired Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers for minor league outfielder Steele Walker, ending any chance of Puig coming to the South Side.

“After our meeting we came away big Yasiel Puig fans, but he wasn’t the right fit for us then and he isn’t right now,” Williams said.

With spring training games starting this weekend and the regular season a little over a month away, fellow Cuban Jose Abreu says he’s surprised the flashy 29-year-old outfielder remains a free agent.

“Yes, I am (surprised). That’s one of those things that happen that you don’t understand. A guy with his talent. He’s still so young,” Abreu said through a translator. “He doesn’t have a team yet. It’s a surprise. I’m confident he’s going to find something this year.”

Even with Puig’s talent, Abreu looks around the White Sox clubhouse and agrees with the decision by the White Sox not to sign the former All-Star who hit .267/.327/.458 with the Reds and Indians last season.

“I don’t think he would be a good fit here. Don’t get me wrong. He has a lot of talent but we’re full," Abreu said. "Our outfield is looking great with Nomar (Mazara), Eloy (Jimenez) and (Luis) Robert. There’s no reason for us to make more moves in that area of our team. He’s someone who would fit in with any major league ball club because he has the talent to help any of those teams.”

What about possibly platooning Puig with Mazara in right field? On paper, that might sound like a good plan, although Puig has traditionally hit better against righties than lefties in his career. But a larger issue could be the timeshare. The idea of Puig, nicknamed “Wild Horse,” being forced to the stable for half the season could spell problems not only for him, but the chemistry inside the clubhouse.

“It would be difficult, especially for him being an everyday player,” Abreu said about Puig being a platoon player.  “When you have to make that decision, it’s not easy.”

So, where will Puig end up?  No one knows for sure but it won’t be with the White Sox.  

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