MLB Notebook: White Sox manager Ventura focused on this season
BY Associated Press
Thursday, February 14, 2013
2/14/13 at 6:52 AM
Confirming he turned down a one-year contract extension in October, Robin Ventura on Wednesday said he prefers to focus on the two years remaining on his deal as White Sox manager.
The former Oklahoma State star, who is entering the second year of a three-year deal, said he will revisit his future when his contract is up.
"To Robin's credit, he was pretty clear in that he just wants to make sure he's truly the right guy when that time comes around," general manager Rick Hahn said. "His focus isn't on 2015 at this time, his focus is on now."
Ventura's mantra as manager during his first year was to have his team concentrate only on that day's game and nothing beyond that. It worked, helping the Sox occupy first place in the American League Central Division for 117 days.
"It was flattering and nice and everything but in talking to Rick, we have two more years to do this," Ventura said. "This is my contract and I was the same way as a player. I'll worry about it at the end of it. In two years, I want them to think I'm the right guy for the job."
Josh Johnson all set for new start in Toronto: For Josh Johnson, the setting this season is different - it's a lot colder in Toronto - but the expectations remain as high as they ever were in Miami.
"My wife and I scouted out Toronto after Christmas," the Jenks High School graduate said Wednesday. "It was a lot of fun. Heidi liked it and that's a big part, making sure the other half is happy."
The right-hander was part of the 12-player blockbuster trade between the Marlins and Blue Jays in mid-November.
The only other time Johnson visited Toronto was in June 2009 when he pitched a complete game, the Marlins winning 11-3.
Johnson sat atop the 2012 starting rotation of the Marlins, a team laden with high-priced talent and expected to at least challenge for the NL East title.
But the team underachieved in their new ballpark and finished in last place. The Marlins fired manager Ozzie Guillen and traded away $163.75 million in guaranteed contracts - two of which belonged to Johnson and fellow Blue Jays front-line starter Mark Buehrle.
Astros starting fresh in more ways than one: Bo Porter is taking over a team that lost 213 games the last two years.
The payroll has been slashed and expectations are low for the Houston Astros, but don't expect their new manager to rule with an iron fist. Porter wants his players to be themselves.
"We have standards of what it is to be a Houston Astro," Porter said. "At the same time, this is a major league clubhouse. It's a bunch of different guys. You want it to be loose. You want it to be fun. You want them to be able to be who they are."
The Astros are starting fresh, and this season will certainly be unique for them. Houston is moving from the National League Central to the American League West, and although the short term includes some daunting challenges, this franchise is eager to face them.
"I think as part of this whole kind of rebranding and rebuilding process that we're going through right now, we're able to kind of wipe the slate clean and really just kind of forget the past," catcher Jason Castro said.