Surprised White Sox players praise outgoing Ventura

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Robin Ventura will not return as the White Sox’ manager next season. | Nam Y. Huh/AP

White Sox players were surprised to learn about a Sun-Times report that manager Robin Ventura will be replaced by bench coach Rick Renteria next season.

Ventura’s departure was news to them after a 6-0 loss Saturday to the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.

“I’ve enjoyed my time with Robin,” outfielder Adam Eaton said. “I’ve made that clear throughout the year and the past three years. If it’s true, he’ll be missed.”

Ventura’s contract expires at the end of the season, which concludes Sunday. At 78-83 going into the finale, the Sox have endured four consecutive losing seasons.

Catcher Alex Avila expressed remorse that the team wasn’t able to win more games to support Ventura.

“I feel bad that I wasn’t able to do more for him,” he said. “I know guys in here feel the same way. We were a team that was expected to win coming into spring training, and we didn’t do that. There’s not much more to that.”

Third baseman Todd Frazier expressed a similar sentiment.

“We have to produce,” Frazier said. “We are getting paid money to go out there and produce runs and pitchers to go out there and stop runs from scoring.”

Asked if he would have liked to see Ventura return as manager, Frazier said: “I love Robin. I love him to death. He’s a good manager, for sure.”

James Shields, who joined the Sox via a midseason trade from San Diego, said Ventura is “one of the better managers I’ve been around.”

“And I’ve been around some good ones,” said Shields, who gave up five runs in the loss. “To be honest with you, this is the first time I’m hearing this, but Robin is a good man, a good manager. If he does step down, he’s going to be sadly missed, for sure.”

Shields gave up two more home runs, his major-league-leading 39th and 40th of the season. He went 4-12 as a member of the Sox and had a 6.77 ERA.

Renteria, who managed the Cubs to a 73-89 record in his lone season in charge in 2014, drew praise from the Sox’ clubhouse.

“Renteria expects a lot from his players,” Eaton said. “A lot of pep on the bench. He’s in every pitch. I’ve enjoyed my time with him. He’s very much a stickler on certain issues, which is good.”

Added Frazier: “Rick’s a great guy. He’s bilingual, which is great. He’s been a manager before. But, like I said, it’s not my right to say anything. I haven’t heard anything, and that’s basically up to our brass, so I’m not going to get in trouble.”

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