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updated: 7/22/2011 3:57 PM

Sox' Ventura ready for new role

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  • Robin Ventura

      Robin Ventura

 
 

Beginning Friday, Robin Ventura is officially a member of the White Sox again.

Hired in early June as a special adviser to Buddy Bell, the Sox' director of player development, Ventura will be in Louisville on Friday night.

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Over the weekend, Ventura will monitor Class AAA Charlotte, the White Sox' top farm club.

"I'm not going to go there and be the hitting coach or the fielding coach," Ventura said. "I think it's just more of a freelance thing. I'll go and observe and talk to people."

Ventura was a standout third baseman for 16 major-league seasons, and he played for the White Sox from 1989-98. Out of the game since 2004, Ventura has been spending time with his family back home in California while also doing some fill-in broadcast work with the Sox.

In addition, the former Oklahoma State All-American has been in the booth for ESPN during the College World Series, but this might be the start of a new career with the White Sox.

"I'm excited," Ventura said. "I wanted to get back into doing something, and I wanted to do it with (the White Sox). I came up with them, broke into the major leagues with the White Sox, and I still know a lot of people in the organization that are close friends.

"It's going to be a lot of fun and I'm excited to see what happens."

While hanging out with Charlotte in Louisville, here are some of the players Ventura is likely to monitor:

•Dayan Viciedo: The right fielder still ranks among International League leaders in batting (.311), home runs (16) and RBI (64).

It's too bad Viciedo didn't cut it as a third baseman, his natural position. The Sox could use immediate help at the position, but it's too late for Ventura, a six-time Gold Glover at the position, to step in and fix Viciedo.

•Alejandro De Aza: He played poorly in spring training, and Lastings Milledge beat him out for the reserve outfield job.

After a slow start with Charlotte, De Aza has been playing at a very high level. The 27-year-old left fielder leads the IL with 119 hits, and his .327 batting average ranks second.

•Eduardo Escobar: Omar Vizquel is not going to play forever, right?

If general manager Kenny Williams decides to move the 44-year-old Vizquel, the Sox are going to need a utility infielder who can play shortstop.

Escobar plays the position at an above-average level, and his batting average (.259) has been steadily rising.

•Jordan Danks: Defensively, the younger brother of White Sox starter John Danks is ready to play center field in the major leagues.

Offensively, Danks still is a work in progress. Maybe Ventura, who also batted left-handed, can figure out why Danks has 95 strikeouts in 311 at-bats.

As for the big club, Ventura has been keeping tabs and knows the White Sox' offense has been in a major rut for much of the season.

"I played on quite a few teams with the White Sox where we had really strong pitching and we struggled to score runs," Ventura said. "Then we'd score a bunch of runs and we'd come back the next day and it wasn't clicking again. You just have to try to be consistent and know that you're going to come out of it."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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