Ventura feels support from bosses, sees no quit in White Sox

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DETROIT – These are trying times for the White Sox.

Trying for the fans. Trying for the players. Trying for the manager.

At 31-40 going into Thursday’s game in Detroit, no one envisions a hot streak from a team that has played as poorly as this one that would turn things around. Poor hitting is one thing to overcome; righting the ship with a unit so defensively challenged is another.

It’s only June, but the Sox wouldn’t be the first team to check out under these circumstances. But indications are they haven’t been defeated for lack of effort or caring. It hasn’t looked good, to be sure, but as Lee Elia put it during that infamous tirade at Wrigley Field, it’s not like they don’t give a [rip] and have cashed it in.

“Absolutely,’’ Ventura said, “Nobody’s doing that.”

“You have to keep them together, keep them pointed in the right direction. And there’s an element in here that you don’t want them to cave into it. And you continue to compete. You practice right, you get the right mentality going and you go play. And there has to be that expectation there. There is a professionalism that goes with it and whether it’s going good or bad, you better be coming out ready to compete.’’

Much to the chagrin of many Sox observers wanting to see change in any form, Ventura’s job appears safe, in part because of management’s loyalty but also because he hasn’t lost the team. Asked if he senses support from general manager Rick Hahn, vice president Ken Williams and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Ventura said, “there’s give and take there.’’

“They’re frustrated with what we’re doing too, as a team, the wins and losses part of it. Yeah, you feel support, but I don’t see us separated as far as pointing a finger. I mean, we’re all in it together and I think in the end that’s important. But you’re trying to figure out how to change it and that’s all we can do.’’

Talking to reporters before Thursday’s game, Ventura seemed relaxed as ever as a team chock full of players performing below their norms warmed up. He’s as bothered and disappointed by the Sox performance as anyone.

“There’s something about the way you handle yourself, whether it’s going good, or whether it’s going bad,’’ he said. “And I get my point across and these guys know that and there’s moments that are louder than others. There are moments that are more poignant than others. But in the end, this is professional baseball and there are standards that are there and I’m trying to make sure those are met, and when they’re not, it becomes a tougher conversations with guys. You’re upfront and they know what’s expected.’’

Short of shuffling the lineup around, there isn’t a whole lot Ventura can do. He has big-money players who will be paid regardless of performance, and there isn’t much in the Sox farm system ready and waiting to step up and threaten to take jobs away.

Ventura sat a struggling Alexei Ramirez, an All-Star in 2014 who is having a poor season on offense and defense, and replaced him at shortstop with Gordon Beckham on Thursday. He didn’t portray it as punishment as much as calling it a mental health day. Ramirez pinch hit in the eighth inning and doubled.

“There might be a change here and there but you have the people you have unless you can move them,’’ Ventura said. “Those are the facts. Right now we’re going to have to figure out a way for this group to get better.

“But you have to deal with the personnel you have.”

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