Ricky Renteria is happy with the first day of Summer Camp
Chronically sunny, White Sox manager Ricky Renteria wouldn't let a single key no-show spread any clouds over a sunny and gorgeous day at Sox Park, as Summer Camp 2020 got underway.
"Being back on the field ... it's just nice being back there," Renteria beamed immediately into his media time after Chicago's morning session.
Of course, the jefe had to address the Fireballer in the Room, the absence of key pitching cog Michael Kopech, who is away from the team, with permission, for personal reasons.
"I've had conversations with Michael," he said. "Once we know what's going on, we'll let you know."
Renteria later added that he was itching to get intrasquad games going, and anticipated those scrimmages starting up early next week.
A couple of different questions, from both the Athletic and Sports Illustrated, nibbled at how Renteria would be approaching this unique season differently.
More broadly speaking, Renteria opined that things wouldn't really change much, overall. He would still try to break things down for players in order to reduce the weight and stress they may be feeling, saying, "We try to eliminate the idea of 'big situations' and try to focus on the little things." Obviously, what applies to the daunting nature of the majors for a young player can translate to dealing with a pandemic, for all players, this season.
When I pressed Ricky a bit more about how the season delay has impacted him and what additional pressure he may feel as a result of this season's circumstances, he remained unflappable.
"The hard part has been waiting these three or four months to get back on the field as a team," he said. "We can't change the course that life has taken. I have no right to complain.
"I don't change my approach. I have to trust my players, and the process. Now it's about them being ready. If they are, we have a really good chance of being successful."
Not that any good really comes from the circumstances under which the White Sox now play, but Renteria was pleased to return to the White Sox with the script flipped on his pitching.
Acknowledging that the White Sox may have been "a little thin" with guys still recovering from injury back in March, now Chicago's depth (including recovering/recovered starters Dane Dunning, Carlos Rodón, Jimmy Lambert and Kopech) "maybe puts us in position to be more creative. We have a lot of tough decisions to make — but good decisions."
Hmm ... creative. How's about the Rule of Three, Ricky?
In anticipation of a later media session with Tim Anderson, Ricky was asked about his batting-champ shortstop.
"He looks so good," Renteria said. "He stayed in Arizona and was working there before coming back. I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for him. He's worked extremely hard. I still believe he's an All-Star quality shortstop. Every day, I'm impressed. He's pretty good, and I'll continue to say that as long as I'm here."
Here's the full media session with Renteria, courtesy of the Chicago White Sox:
And if you missed it from the Rick Hahn story, here's some sights and sounds from the first day of Summer Camp, courtesy of SoxTV: