Manager Rick Renteria, first baseman Jose Abreu, shortstop Tim Anderson, center fielder Luis Robert all building strong cases
The White Sox media relations department is promoting Rick Renteria as an American League Manager of the Year candidate, and why not?
Renteria guided the Sox to a 32-16 record, the best in the American League, going into the Sox’ game against the Twins Wednesday. That .667 win percentage marked a +.220 increase this season, the largest in the major leagues. The Padres (+.208) of the NL were second.
“You stay focused on what it is you’re doing; I don’t try to get too high or too low,” Renteria said Wednesday. “There are times over the course of a season, including this one, in which we win a ballgame but are still not satisfied because there are certain things that needed to be done or weren’t accomplished. And then there are games you did everything you could and maybe you don’t come out on the top and you’re happy with the way everybody went about it, minus the victory.”
Renteria, 58, entered the season with a 274-373 career record in one season with the Cubs and three with the Sox. This is his first team that is built to win.
“I’ve just got to keep moving forward and make sure everybody’s preparing, make sure they’re enjoying themselves and they’re having fun and they’re relaxed,” Renteria said.
Chuck Tanner (1972), Tony La Russa (1983), Jeff Torborg (1990), Gene Lamont (1993), Jerry Manuel (2000) and Ozzie Guillén (2005) are previous Sox recipients of the honor.
Shortstop Tim Anderson and first baseman José Abreu are attempting to become the fourth Sox to be named American League MVP, joining Nellie Fox (1959), Dick Allen (1972) and Frank Thomas (1993-94).
Abreu is the AL leader in hits and RBI and is attempting to join Red Sox outfielders Jim Rice (1978) and Carl Yastrzemski (1967) and Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig in 1931 as the only players to lead the AL in those categories.
Anderson is trying to repeat as the major league leader in average and Abreu is going for a second RBI crown in a row. Both are leading with 12 games left. Anderson (55 hits), who spent 10 days on the injured list, was second to Abreu (61) in hits.
Luis Robert is a leading contender for AL Rookie of the Year honors.
Encarnacion sits, but not for long
Edwin Encarnacion (.168/ 265.403) did not start for the second straight game but will play in the series finale Thursday, Renteria said, and “possibly the next five, six, seven days. We’re trying to do everything we can to get everybody on track.
Nomar Mazara (.223/298./272) was in right field a sitting out Tuesday, with the more productive and better defensive option Adam Engel back on the bench after a 2-for-4 night.
Renteria is still hoping to get Mazara, who had not homered before Wednesday, going.
‘’We’ll just continue to look at the matchups and what we can do in order to maximize what they’re both able to offer,” Renteria said.
Spring training schedule
The spring training schedule featuring a Feb. 27 opener at home in Glendale, Ariz., against the Brewers and a wrap-up of three games at the Cubs in the final five days was released.
The Sox play the Cubs on March 19 at Camelback Ranch and March 26, 29 and 30 at Sloan Park.
The Sox’ 2021 regular season opens April 1 at the Los Angeles Angels. The home opener is April 8 against the Royals.
The 2020 spring training season was canceled on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The regular season was delayed to July 19 and trimmed to 60 games instead of the full 162 games.