Renteria: ‘I’m in a great place’ with White Sox

SHARE Renteria: ‘I’m in a great place’ with White Sox

Rick Renteria talks to Tim Anderson before the White Sox spring training game against the Cubs Monday. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MESA, Ariz. — White Sox manager Rick Renteria and Cubs manager Joe Maddon crossed paths last week at a media event.

‘‘Just said hello,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘Just briefly. He’s always been very cordial. I’m sure we’ll have a beer sometime, absolutely.’’

Oh, to be a fly on the tavern wall to hear those two talk. It was Maddon who took over for Renteria as the Cubs’ manager after the 2014 season, guiding them to the National League Championship Series in his first season and to a World Series championship in his second.

It was tough for Renteria to watch. He had helped develop some of the Cubs’ young players before being unceremoniously let go by Theo Epstein and Co. with two years left on his contract.

Renteria sat out the 2015 season, joined the Sox as then-manager Robin Ventura’s bench coach last season and now is managing the Sox through a rebuild.

‘‘I’m in a great place,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘Baseball does what it does, and I think we all have to take account of ourselves. We keep perspective, and we try to find some balance. There are worse things that have happened to people.

‘‘Always initially you feel a sense of a little blow. But you put it in perspective and realize things keep moving forward, and here I am now with the Chicago White Sox. Things happen.’’

Other teams reached out to Renteria with coaching offers when Maddon unexpectedly became available to the Cubs. That he was still on the Cubs’ payroll made it easier for him to sit out a year and re-evaluate things.

‘‘Oh, sure, it would be a lie if that wasn’t a part of being able to get through that,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘You’re able to spend time with your family, take advantage of that particular situation.’’

If hard feelings linger, Renteria is doing a good job of hiding it.

‘‘You have to allow everybody to enjoy the things that are moving forward,’’ he said. ‘‘Once you’re out of it, you step back and let them enjoy what they are reaping. They deserve it.’’

The Cubs celebrated their first world title since 1908 while Renteria was preparing to help the Sox build from the ground up, hopefully in the same way the Cubs did.

‘‘I guess there is some irony to it, but it’s all good,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘I’m really happy to be here, in the situation we’re in. The organization is taking the step that is hopefully leading us, as many organizations have done over the last six or seven years, to create something more sustainable over time.’’

Epstein said he saw Terry Francona take things he had learned on the job with the Phillies to his job with the Red Sox, where Epstein and Francona won together. There is a benefit to a second go-around for a manager, Epstein said.

‘‘Seems like [Renteria] has a lot of talented young players to work with over there,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘And his energy and personality will be real assets to help develop those kids, keep them positive, keep them moving forward.’’

When Maddon didn’t meet Renteria at home plate for the lineup exchange before the Cactus League game between the teams Monday, there was a little press-box buzz that Maddon was snubbing him. But Maddon never goes out there in spring training.

Perhaps Renteria will give him the business over that beer.

‘‘He’s a really good fellow,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘He’s a really bright fellow, too. Very engaging, gregarious. Shoot, I’d love to know him better. I think he’s awesome.’’

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.


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