Renteria excited to be back in dugout, on field
Bench coach hopes to have positive impact on players
CHICAGO -- During a conference call on Wednesday, Rick Renteria fielded eight questions, with six dealing in some way with his dismissal as Cubs manager after his lone season in 2014, eventually being replaced by Joe Maddon.
But that portion of Renteria's extensive baseball life is behind him. His focus now centers on the White Sox, hired as manager Robin Ventura's bench coach on Tuesday. It's a job that has Renteria excited to return to baseball.
"To be honest, as this is finally done and official, I was talking to my family here and saying, 'I'm kind of getting excited about just working with players, just being out there on the field again,'" said Renteria, who had not spoken publicly about the end of his Cubs' tenure previously. "There's a lot, when you talk baseball, when you've been in this for a while, there are a lot of things you want to be able to impart.
"Obviously, we all know the game is always going to be about the players, but hopefully we as coaches and staff can impart something that will help them move forward. Hopefully, that's what I'll be able to do as part of the new staff here."
Ventura, also part of Wednesday's conference call, first made contact with Renteria last offseason after he was dismissed from the Cubs. Ventura and Renteria said no official offer was made, but it was more about Ventura checking to see where Renteria was mentally and conveying that the organization had interest.
"You are always looking to bring in quality people," said Ventura. "And he's definitely one of them."
This "quality" hire almost didn't happen. If Bud Black had been named Nationals manager, Renteria acknowledged that he might have been going in that direction. But that Washington hire never materialized, and with the lines of communication remaining open, the White Sox became a natural fit.
"I think our personalities will mesh," said Renteria of working with Ventura. "As a bench coach, I'm coming on board to make his job as easy as possible and transition into one of the rest of the staff. The conversation we had made it pretty easy for me to see myself coming on board with the Sox."
"There's help in there when you have a bench coach that comes in being able to read the room and see what's going on inside the clubhouse and what's going on in the game," said Ventura, who praised Renteria's stellar reputation throughout baseball, adding that his bilingual ability is an extra perk. "He's great at it."
Renteria doesn't seem affected by what happened previously in Chicago, with Ventura adding that Renteria simply is coming to do a job and is eager for the opportunity. In the same vein, Ventura isn't looking over his shoulder in the final year of his contract with a man of Renteria's experience on staff.
"That stuff doesn't bother me. I don't expect any rift or anything else with Rick," Ventura said. "I'm excited to have him come in. He's excited to be here. We are trying to do things to win games. For me, the quality of person you are bringing in is the key thing, not any of the other issues people might try to create."