Former All-Star third baseman Robin Ventura is replacing the fiery Ozzie Guillen as manager of the Chicago White Sox , agreeing to a multiyear deal yesterday.
A longtime star with the White Sox, Ventura was hired by the club last June as a special adviser to director of player development Buddy Bell. Ventura is the 39th White Sox manager overall, including 17 who played for the team.
When general manager Ken Williams asked whether he would be interested in replacing Guillen, Ventura admitted he was surprised. Especially since he hadn’t managed previously.
But after a couple of days to think about it, he knew it was a move he wanted to make.
“I think there is a challenge there, getting back into the game,’’ he said in a conference call.
“I do have a passion for it. I do have a passion for this team and this city. I’m not one to really back away from a lot of things . . . The passion is there to do it, I was asked to do it. I’m honored.’’
The selection of Ventura, 44, came as a surprise. Most speculation had the White Sox’ top candidates as Rays bench coach Dave Martinez or Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., both former White Sox players.
“Needless to say he was a little surprised and little apprehensive,’’ Williams said. “We had to explain to him exactly what the support system would be and exactly what our expectations were at the start. I was very clear with him that I do not expect him to be Tony La Russa on Day 1.
“In our estimation the fit is such that all of that will come together and we will ultimately be better off down the line that we could be if - in my opinion - we went in a different direction.’’
Pitching coach Don Cooper and first base coach Harold Baines were re-signed to multiyear contract extensions before the season ended.
Maddon staying put The Red Sox now have the only managerial opening, and a host of candidates from which to choose. During a media session yesterday in St. Petersburg, Fla., Rays manager Joe Maddon said he had no intention of seeking new employment. But with the Rays’ season over, it’s possible Maddon’s top assistant, Martinez, could be contacted by the Red Sox soon . . . The former landlord for Giants ace Tim Lincecum filed a lawsuit against the pitcher seeking $350,000 in damages, claiming the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner stole and destroyed items in the San Francisco apartment he rented . . . After being outrighted off Colorado’s 40-man roster, third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff accepted free agency. The Rockies sent pitchers Matt Daley, Jim Miller, Greg Reynolds, and Cory Riordan, and catcher Jose Morales to the minors.