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Parent ready to fill in for Ventura

ST. PETERSBURG -- Robin Ventura is gone … for the weekend. But he certainly is not forgotten.

The White Sox manager missed this weekend series against the Rays in order to attend the college graduation of his daughter, Madison, from Cal Poly. But bench coach Mark Parent, Ventura's three-day replacement, remains in contact with his boss in terms of game preparation.

"I just try to be as respectful to the way Robin does things as we continue doing things the way he likes to have them done," said Parent before Friday's series opener. "Like the lineup, I called him before the game to go over things and what he'd like to see done.

"I'm probably going to run the game as we do it anyway. But if I want to play a certain guy, he's still the manager of this team."

As the bench coach for Ventura since he took over as manager in 2012, Parent plays an active role in day-to-day, game-related decisions, offering up a myriad of options to Ventura. So this weekend won't be much different, aside from the fact that Parent is now the man with the final call with the game possibly on the line.

"When we sit down and do a game, it's pretty much the same," Parent said. "He's bouncing stuff off me, we bounce stuff off [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper]. We make decisions.

"That's usually the team we have, we make those decisions anyways, so not much changes. Coop and I still have the same relationship and we know our guys inside and out. We know sometimes an adjustment needs to be made during a game, pitching this guy and not that guy, pitching around whomever, pinch-hit, defense. Just stay on top, watch the game and follow it. It's the same."

Vance Law, the White Sox Minor League hitting coordinator, joined the team as the interim bench coach. His addition was tied in part to a request made by Parent.

"You want somebody who has different ideas, maybe watching on TV like Vance has, but still in the game working with all our Minor League guys," said Parent of Law. "He has a rapport with [Carlos Sanchez], has a rapport with this guy. Maybe he can suggest something he's seen that's like, 'Whoa, that's really good.' When we talk baseball I like the way he talks."

Ventura missed two games in 2013 for the college graduation of his oldest daughter, Rachel. Parent filled in for one of those June contests, while Cooper managed the other one when Parent left for his son's graduation. Ventura and his wife, Stephanie, have two other children, so Parent's managerial services might be called upon again.

"I didn't like when he said, I think, 'I'm going to adopt a 17-year-old so I have a graduation next year,'" said a smiling Parent, who has three years of Minor League managerial experience. "That was pretty funny."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast.
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