Watch CBS News

Levine: White Sox Management, Robin Ventura Agree To More Hands-On Approach

By Bruce Levine--

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The reaction to bad baseball from the White Sox top brass was no different from the fan base's outrage last week. White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf had the same questions that fans did as the team returned from a sorry 0-5 road trip.

The questions were many from the boss and his front-office officials. First and foremost, they centered around cleaning up a defense that was dysfunctional at best.

Bad relays, indecisive throws and overall low baseball IQ baseball wasn't going to be tolerated any longer. Reinsdorf and executives Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn asked manager Robin Ventura to take a more hands-on approach in guiding his players during in-game situations.

Three days of meetings helped Ventura and his staff draw up a more pragmatic approach. This new manifesto includes more micro-managing of the hitting and baserunning decisions, as well as strategy for his players to follow.

Ventura alone has spent many hours working with rookie second baseman Micah Johnson on his footwork, hand location and overall mental approach to a position he's still trying to get better at. Ventura's coaches are tireless workers who are at the park early, working with the players and preparing statistical data to help win that day.

As the manager and his staff begin to watch the players react to more in-game instruction, Hahn and Williams can hone in on how the coaching is being responded to by their group of players.

"I don't think anything has changed dramatically, as far as the amount of communication that occurs around here," Hahn said Thursday. "More recently, the issues have been more consistent and run a little bit deeper. Therefore our conversations have run longer. This is more about making sure we are covering everything that is going on. I would not say we are more hands on. We are having open conversation about all of our issues, which at this point at least last week were pretty numerous."

Although the fans want to blame someone (often Ventura) amid an 8-14 start that's now 10-14 after two straight wins, the management group doesn't feel the same way at this point. Hahn and Williams simply used some of their upper-management skills to impress upon Ventura and his staff to take more control of in-game player activity.

"There is a pretty clear scouting report out there on us," Hahn said of his team's failures being documented. "The reports are based how how we have played the first 25 games. If we are going to change up our approach in certain situations, I don't think we want to declare that. You have seen that a little bit in our changes of approach in the Detroit series."

Ventura stopped short of saying what's different, but some team sources said the green light for some players have been turned to amber and in some cases red.

"I don't know," Ventura responded to an inquiry about the possible change in control of game running and in-game activity. "I don't feel like letting everybody know that."

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


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.