Ventura likes staff input on lineup decisions

White Sox manager considers numbers, but also seeks overall balance

Ventura likes staff input on lineup decisions

CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura has the last call on the day-to-day lineup. But Ventura certainly takes input from his entire coaching staff before putting one through nine together.

"We talk about it a lot," Ventura said. "If you see something that maybe I don't, I think that's part of having a staff. You're talking with [bench coach] Ricky [Renteria], you're talking with [third-base coach] Joe [McEwing], you're talking with Trick [hitting coach Todd Steverson], everybody. Even Coop, why not?"

Pitching coach Don Cooper, also known as Coop, comes into play with the hitters because he knows "how he'd pitch somebody, just different things like that, maybe an approach another team would have that he would see."

"You're always talking about things like that," Ventura said. "But it will be my call at the end."

Thursday's lineup against the Astros featured Brett Lawrie with his first day off of 2016, despite his request to Ventura to stay in action. Avisail Garcia also got a rest, with Carlos Sanchez starting at second and Jerry Sands at designated hitter. The two entered Thursday with a combined 50 at-bats.

Jimmy Rollins moved from his customary No. 2 spot in the order to sixth, with Ventura wanting a veteran presence lower in the order where Lawrie usually would be. It could be a one-game thing, but it also could be a sign of Ventura mixing things up with the team stuck in a funk over the previous seven games.

"You always look at lineup changes and what would happen with guys in different spots," Ventura said. "When they're going good it always looks good to move guys up. You've seen it in the past where we move guys into that two-hole and it doesn't necessarily work.

"It changes maybe their approach or what the guy is doing. It doesn't always work like, 'If the guy's hot, you just throw him there and it continues.' But yeah, we play with it all the time."

Ventura definitely employs analytics in running the White Sox, but he also tries to find an overall balance.

"Everybody has their own way to do it," Ventura said. "If you go all one way, it's not going to work. If you're all just analytics, it's not going to work just because you have people with hearts and brains and how they react and how they interact together.

"If you just go by all the other stuff, there are numbers that do pan out and make sense. You have to be able measure both of those and see it with your eyes too."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.