Chicago White Sox

Column: Rick Renteria keeps White Sox afloat with positive approach

White Sox manager Rick Renteria talks with starting pitcher Lucas Giolito as he takes Giolito out of the game against the Royals in the sixth inning Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Kansas City, Mo.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria talks with starting pitcher Lucas Giolito as he takes Giolito out of the game against the Royals in the sixth inning Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Kansas City, Mo.

Plenty has been offered, but Rick Renteria doesn’t want any pity.

The White Sox’s manager seemed to become an even more sympathetic figure over the weekend at Wrigley Field, which is understandable.

On Saturday, the Sox’s losing streak reached seven games after they dropped an 8-4 decision to the Cubs. Even worse, the loss lowered the Sox’s record to 9-27 – the worst start to a season in franchise history.

Sunday morning, Renteria met with general manager Rick Hahn in the cramped manager’s office at Wrigley.

Was the 56-year-old manager pleading with Hahn to bolster an undermanned roster? Was he tendering his resignation? Was he going to be fired?

None of the above.

If anything, Renteria was probably giving his GM a pep talk. That’s how positive the Sox’s second-year manager is, even when the negatives are reaching record highs.

“The one thing I can’t lose sight of, or our staff can’t lose sight of, it’s where we’re going, the direction that we want to go,” Renteria said.

The Sox are going nowhere this year, which is a continuation of last year’s direction.

Renteria prefers to look farther down the road, where the Sox are hoping many of the promising prospects working their way through the minor-league system join current holdovers such as second baseman Yoan Moncada and starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez.

And don’t forget – the Sox are going to have plenty of money to spend on veterans to fill other holes – so a bright future helps Renteria keep moving through these dimmer days.

“Obviously, logically speaking, situations haven’t gone as well as we’ve wanted on both sides, the hitting or the pitching,” Renteria said. “I think that ultimately as we continue to move forward, one thing these guys have to take from every experience that they have is to gain some knowledge from it. The growth will continue to occur.

“As frustrating as it might be right now, it is going to happen. I think that patience in this particular instance is a really important part of being where we’re at right now. That may bring no solace to the fan at this particular time, but I can’t lose focus on what we’re trying to do in terms of developing guys to become the players that we want them to be and the team that we want them to be.

“I’ve got to remain positive. I’ve got to keep moving forward because if you allow it to take control of you, you can bury yourself in it and it can be pretty tough to work through it.”

These are decidedly tough times for the Sox, but they are convinced they have the right manager at the right time.

Instead of wondering why he took the job right after the 2016 season knowing how tough the next few years were likely to be, Renteria has embraced the challenge.

While he’ll pull a player he doesn’t think is giving maximum effort, and Leury Garcia is the latest example, Renteria’s attitude is appreciated in the clubhouse.

“He gives you the confidence to play and doesn’t put pressure on you,” infielder Yolmer Sanchez said. “He’s the guy we need here.”

• Scot Gregor covers the White Sox for the Daily Herald. Write to him at sgregor@dailyherald.com.

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