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Sox notebook: Ventura torn on possible rule changes

Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura (23) talks with the media before a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Saturday, July 30, 2016, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Paul Battaglia) ORG XMIT: MNPB10X

BY DAVID JUST

For the Sun-Times

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said last week he’s pondering massive changes to rules to boost offense and quicken games.

Possible changes include limiting the number of infield shifts allowed, instituting a 20-second pitch clock and reducing the number of pitching changes a team can make.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura weighed in on the topic before the game Saturday against the Athletics, noting first that he’s not sure of the logic behind limiting infield shifts.

‘‘That’s going to be a tough one,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘I know they’re doing it to kind of speed up the game, but it seems that would make it longer. It seems more offensive if you can’t shift and

try to prevent a team from

scoring runs.’’

Ventura was hot-and-cold on the pitching ideas.

‘‘The 20-second clock is interesting to me,’’ he said. ‘‘I think anytime you’re speeding up the game of just the lull, that’s a good thing.’’

But Ventura cautioned against changes that might limit how often pitching changes could be made.

‘‘You don’t want to see a guy just getting his brains beaten out there because you’ve already made a couple of moves,’’ he said.

Gonzalez on the mend

Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez said he’s recovering well from a strained right groin that put him on the disabled list nine days ago.

‘‘It’s going to take about two weeks and then [I can] start playing a little bit more,’’ Gonzalez said. ‘‘I feel much better now.’’

Gonzalez said he might try throwing off a mound Sunday and seeing how he feels after mixing in a few fastballs and changeups.

Gonzalez left a game Aug. 11 against the Royals after feeling pain on his first pitch of the second inning. Trainer Herm Schneider and Ventura promptly came to the mound and ended his outing.

The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Gonzalez. He had made seven consecutive quality starts leading up to the injury and had a 2.76 ERA during that span.

‘‘It’s tough to swallow, especially the way it was going,’’ Gonzalez said. ‘‘I just have to keep grinding it out, man. I feel much better now. See how it feels [tomorrow], and we’ll go from there.’’

More injury updates

Infielder Tyler Saladino was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game with a sore back. He is available to play, but the Sox are being cautious, Ventura said.

‘‘He’s been playing pretty good,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘Getting on base. Getting a lot of things that, for a while, he wasn’t doing. Right now, it’s caught up to him.’’

Ventura said catcher Alex Avila is getting closer to returning after being on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring since July 6.

Outfielder Avisail Garcia, who is out with a knee injury, has begun a rehab assignment at

Class AAA Charlotte.

‘‘We’re getting reports on [Garcia] as he plays, and we’ll see how he feels right after that,’’ Ventura said.

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