Levine: Rick Renteria’s White Sox Not Short On Motivation

By Bruce Levine–

CHICAGO (CBS) — After 45 games, if you were using a weather analogy, the White Sox’s results have been fair to mostly cloudy with a chance of some sunshine ahead.

The team’s last road trip wasn’t good, as it went 3-7, swept in Anaheim and Arizona while taking three out of four in Seattle. Since April 30, the White Sox have gone 7-16, dropping to 20-25 overall and fourth in the AL Central.

Taking it on the chin and losing is a part of every rebuild. Manager Rick Renteria has been through it as a coach with the San Diego Padres and as manager of the Cubs in 2014.

“I know some of the things become redundant,” Renteria said about his positive messages after negative results. “We can’t do anything about what has already happened. All we can do is move forward. We take the experiences over the last 10 days and dissect every little thing. We as coaches do that on a daily basis. The veterans have shown me they are staying positive, preparing and performing.”

Losing left-hander Carlos Rodon since March 15 and right-hander James Shields since April 18 has put a huge strain on the rotation. The White Sox are down three bullpen arms since Opening Day as well.

Renteria tries his best to convey to the players the positives in their play despite the outcome. For youngsters, the message is fresh and reassuring. For veterans, it can get old.

So far, Renteria has the support of the older players.

“It was a tough road trip,” closer David Robertson said. “Injuries are a part of baseball. We all know that. The injury thing has been gradually creeping up on us. You look around and see you are missing four or five guys. As far as Ricky goes, he is always giving us a positive message.

“I have been playing in the league for 10 years in the big leagues and sometimes I need something positive to lift me up. I hope the guys are all soaking it in. The communication helps build some trust as a team that you always want. I think over time this work will pay dividends for the guys.”

Robertson, of course, won’t be around to see the end result of the White Sox rebuild. Still, it’s nice to see players like him and third baseman Todd Frazier buy into the team approach despite the fact they may be in Chicago for only a few more months.

“He has an open door policy,” Frazier said of Renteria. “I can tell him if I am not 100 percent, and he knows how to handle it. With Ricky, everybody is held accountable. I told guys before to pick it up the hustle or there would be consequences. We can’t be arrogant about anything. Every game we play will be a tough one.”

Frazier will become a free agent after the season. Despite a myriad of injuries and tepid personal results, he continues to show leadership qualities and be supportive of the coaches and Renteria.

“We have to set the example,” Frazier said. “You see everybody hustling here. Does not matter if it’s Shields or (Mike) Pelfrey with 10 or more seasons. You just watch and see how a bobble here or a bobble there can change things if you’re hustling. It is a good mix of guys that understand the game. We say around here if you want to play for a long time, play the right way.”

Renteria has an edict and philosophy from within going out to his group.

“This part is easy,” Renteria said. ” There is nothing I can do about it. It would be one thing if I relied on the outcomes at the end of the day to determine who we are and who we are not. What I value is how they play the game.

“That gives me high hopes about determining who we are and want to be as a club. Those are bigger factors for me. The way they play is more inspiring to me then I can be for them. I do repeat myself a lot, but that is just who I am.”

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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