By Bruce Levine–
GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) — The first day of spring training is always different for a new manager taking over. In the case of White Sox manager Rick Renteria, he has one year of experience as a bench coach for the organization that he’ll draw on as the team embarks on a rebuild.
“My personality in and itself is what it is,” he said. “There are times when my guys will not like me very much. That is OK. There will be times I won’t like them very much. I am always going to love them. Same approach for both sides. The expectations of our team from the outside can be what it is going to be. We still must lay out high expectations for ourselves. Part of the process is going out each day looking for a victory. The question is, how we are going to approach attacking on a daily basis? You set high expectations and if it does not work out, you go back and see what you failed at in order to get the job done. That is a big part of learning how to win also.”
Renteria is getting his second big league managing opportunity, both in the same city, as he managed the Cubs in 2014. This new chance will be unique and challenging at the same time for the 55-year-old Renteria.
“Having the ability to know some of the personalities is a nice advantage to have,” Renteria said after arriving at the team’s spring training complex Monday, a day before pitchers and catchers are due to report. “Getting to know the new guys we have coming in will be a process. We have done our work, watching what they have done from the game’s perspective. Getting to know them personally is another big piece of the puzzle.”
Handling early spring training with left-hander Jose Quintana and closer David Robertson being on the trade block will be a challenge for Renteria and his coaching staff.
“It’s obviously something that is swirling,” Renteria said of veterans being in trade rumors. “For the most part, we know our people will come to the ballpark preparing for the upcoming season. It would be foolish for me to say they don’t have it in the back of their mind. It is something that is there. This, however, should not encompass them every waking moment. They have a job to do. They must prepare for the upcoming season. If there are any problems, we will do our best to minimize them. For the most part, we know they are professional. We will try to focus on what they have to do for the upcoming season.”
Renteria won’t change the White Sox’s spring training day-to-day operation a great deal, though he does want to put his personal imprint on the camp without being too heavy-handed.
“We might not be making a whole lot of changes,” Renteria said. “We will just try and be a little more detailed. Every year, each organization tries to improve in its process. We might want to target some things like base-running or backing up bases. These are some of the things we talked about at Sox Fest, things like choking up on the bat with two strikes, hitting behind runners and things of that nature. Those will be topics of conversation throughout the whole spring. We will certainly address a lot of those things as we move forward. We want to improve the mentality in our approaches.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.