clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Renteria keeps emotion out of it at Wrigley

White Sox bench coach Rick Renteria. (Getty Images)

Rick Renteria did a pretty good job of keeping his emotions out of his return to Wrigley Field. Renteria managed the Cubs to a 73-89 record in 2014 before being unceremoniously let go on the North Side with two years left on his contract to make room for Joe Maddon, and he was back when the White Sox played the Cubs Wednesday and Thursday.

Hired by the Sox to be manager Robin Ventura’s bench coach this season, Renteria has reasons to harbor bad feelings but as is his classy and gentle nature, he has displayed none of that.

“I don’t know if I had any emotions one way or the other because time has passed already,’’ said Renteria, who was out of baseball in 2015 and remains on the Cubs payroll through 2016. ”The park had a lot of life and energy which was neat to see. But other than that personally I was just focused on us trying to do what we could do as a club.’’

Energy indeed. Wrigley Field is a happening place night in and night out now that the Cubs have emerged from the developmental stage they were in under Renteria’s watch to World Series contender.

“I thought it was a good time,’’ he said of his time in the Cubbie manager’s chair. “It was a lot of positive energy, a lot of possibilities. And I can’t deny it — it was a great experience.

“There’s still a few guys over there (Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Kyle Hendricks, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop to name some). It’s been nice to see them. The kids that were there have extended their hand a little to say hello. You saw them when they were developing but for the most part, once the game starts you see them as an opponent. It becomes a different place and you’re just trying to compete.

“They are a talented group and they are coming together and playing as a unit. They’ve known each other and they’ve added pieces who have assimilated to that clubhouse.”

Since the first day of spring training, Renteria has tried to distance himself from being viewed as a possible replacement for manager Robin Ventura, either in the event of Ventura wouldn’t last this final season of his contract, or beyond this season.

Asked about his desire to manage again, Renteria gave a familiar answer: “I came out here to do the job I’m doing right now. I’ve always believed that whatever goes on after that takes care of itself.”