White Sox general manager Rick Hahn stood at the center of a huddle of reporters and television cameras Thursday afternoon and immediately asked for brevity as he still had plenty left to do.
It wasn’t long before the subject of a dreadful stretch of Sox baseball was broached and Hahn was asked if he was surprised by how the past month had played out.
“Surprising is probably not the word I would use,” Hahn said before the Sox snapped a five-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over the Nationals. “I have a lot of other words that probably aren’t fit for FCC consumption. It’s been extremely frustrating, extremely disappointing.”
Seconds later, Hahn added “extraordinarily disappointing” to the list of non-expletives before coming to a stern conclusion.
“It’s time for it to end,” Hahn said.
When the Sox won two of three against the Mets last week, Hahn wondered if Robin Ventura’s club had turned a corner. But when the Sox again started to skid and Mat Latos was “absolutely pathetic” Tuesday in what turned out to be his final Sox outing and James Shields was booed in his South Side debut, Hahn dashed into damage control mode.
Latos was designated for assignment Thursday and the Sox signed 35-year-old Justin Morneau to a one-year deal. Hahn announced the Sox likely aren’t finished shopping – but only after he justified signing Morneau, who was immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Morneau, who underwent off-season elbow surgery, won’t be available until at mid-July. But once healthy, Morneau said he hopes to be part of a club that will be playing meaningful baseball in September.
“That’s really what I’m here for,” Morneau said.
Whether the Sox can make that happen remains a different matter. Not long after Hahn expressed his frustration with the Sox’ state of affairs, Ventura’s job security rose to the surface. Hahn side-stepped the subject, saying it’s never been his style to “telegraph any move”.
But seconds later, Hahn defended his embattled manager, insisting the Sox have the pieces in place they need to win.
“From my standpoint, when things are going tough, the best thing you can do is rally around the guys you have here,” Hahn said before saying he will do everything in his power to put the Sox in the best position to win with the people currently in the clubhouse.
Hahn continued to stay the course, preaching that this isn’t the time to make any “short-sighted” decisions that could do long-term damage. That seems to include making a managerial change with Ventura, whose seat hasn’t been cool for most of the time he’s been in the Sox dugout.
By now, Ventura has grown accustomed to the constant questioning of whether he’s the answer as the face of the club. But on a day when Hahn defended him and the Sox won for just the seventh time in their last 27 games behind Miguel Gonzalez, who allowed only three hits and a run over six innings, Ventura asked if he feared for his job.
“(Reporters) have been asking that all year so that hasn’t changed,” Ventura said. “So that’s always there.”
How long Ventura remains at his post remains unknown. After all, so much can change in a month. Just ask Rick Hahn.
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