Ventura says he’d return next season, but he has to be asked

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Robin Ventura smiles in the dugout during the game against the Miami Marlins on Friday at Marlins Park. | Eric Espada/Getty Images

MIAMI — Robin Ventura is in the final year of his contract, which means he’s in the final seven weeks of his five-year managerial career with the White Sox, unless he receives an extension.

Ventura told the Sun-Times on Saturday he wants to manage the Sox again, “but you have to have somebody ask you to do it and all that. That’s stuff that happens after the season is over, if you get there.’’

The Sox entered the game Saturday against the Miami Marlins with a 55-60 record, the same mark they had through 115 games last season. Ventura’s career record was 352-411, broken down as 85-77, 63-99, 73-89 and 76-86 from 2012 to ’15.

A surprise hire with no managerial experience at any level after Ozzie Guillen’s last season in 2011, Ventura provided the steady, more sedate alternative to the volatile, never-a-dull-moment Guillen, who was 678-617 in eight years, including a World Series championship in 2005.

The Sox were in first place for 117 days in Ventura’s first season, faded late and finished second to the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central. Ventura finished third in AL Manager of the Year voting but hasn’t had a winning season since, for reasons related more to talent and roster construction than the coaching staffs. But -Ventura knows managers are hired to be fired and often are when teams lose year in and year out.

“Going into this season, I knew I had one year left on my contract,’’ Ventura said. “I don’t necessarily think about it. The focus is getting through this year. I’ve told them, ‘Wait till the end of the year and -figure out what’s going on.’ ’’

General manager Rick Hahn has been noncommittal about Ventura’s status, even after the team’s 23-10 start, and has said it will be -addressed after the season. If the relationship ends, it will unfold without acrimony because of respect and admiration for Ventura, a former franchise star player who has led with dignity and class even though his teams have been, as Hahn put it, “mired in -mediocrity” because of talent shortages and other issues that have Hahn, vice president Ken Williams and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf contemplating significant personnel changes this offseason.

“It’s more difficult than coming out and saying you have the horses or you don’t have the horses,’’ -Ventura said. “We’ve worked to try and get ourselves, whether it’s spending money [on free agents] or drafting or using the guys you have [to be in position to win]. You just do it. We are what we are, and you try and do the best you can with what we’ve got.’’

Ventura has detractors — fans and media alike — who say the Sox could be better with another leader in his chair. Those voices grew louder when ace left-hander Chris Sale said Ventura should get behind his players more. The comments -followed Sale’s bizarre uniform-cutting episode on a day the five-time All-Star was -scheduled to pitch.

That said, player effort and -preparation rarely have been issues for Ventura, who said his relationship with Sale is OK.

“That’s fine,’’ Ventura said. “We talk daily, so it’s not like there is something residual that is sitting there. We’re over it, we had our conversations, both of us are back to doing whatever we need to do for the team. We talk all the time.

“I would think [he respects me]. It’s not as though he’s not doing team stuff or things that aren’t -conducive to the team because things I’ve talked to him about.’’

Ventura also had to deal with the Adam LaRoche retirement fiasco in spring training.

“We’ve had some crazy stuff,’’ he said. “But it’s there, and you deal with it. That’s all you do. It’s like everything else in life. It’s there, and you deal with it and you move on.

“I’m secure in who I am and how you handle things. And you go from there.’’

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.


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