Ventura focused on present, not contract

Ventura focused on present, not contract

MIAMI -- Working in the final year of his contract as White Sox manager, Robin Ventura continues to worry about nothing more than getting his team ready for the game at hand.

"The focus is on these guys and winning games," said Ventura prior to Sunday's series finale with the Marlins. "There's plenty of time to look at it in the offseason.

"I've never felt like there is a reason for either side to have to do something just because I don't have a contract next year. It doesn't mean I won't have one, and it doesn't mean I will have one. But you just go through it and do what you're supposed to do and this is what I'm supposed to do right now."

Ventura's squad entered Saturday with a 55-60 record, the same record featured by the '14 and 2015 teams. After five years, Ventura is still perceived at times as the one-time White Sox standout who had to be convinced to take the position. But there should be absolutely no mistake in regard to his passion for his job.

"If you joke about something or you don't go off on certain things that you're not passionate about -- when you come in here and work as hard as we do, you're not here this long if you're doing it as a lark," Ventura said. "We've always taken it seriously of doing the work and getting them in the best spot possible.

"Sometimes you look around, it goes pretty quick. This is what I was signed to do. But I've never really felt you have to seek an extension, or anything like that, until you need to do it. Even as a player, I've never felt that was an issue until you got to the point where you had to make a decision."

A decision regarding Ventura and his staff's future is expected shortly after the end of this season, at the latest.

Avila hoping to avoid roadblocks
There's only one way to describe catcher Alex Avila's absence from the White Sox since July 6 with a right hamstring strain.

"Extremely frustrating," Avila said. "This has been constant back and forth."

Avila returned from an injury rehab assignment on July 20, and he expected at that point to miss another four weeks. He has been swinging the bat, throwing and doing agility drills, with a goal of catching in the Cleveland series that starts on Monday. He hopes to go on another rehab assignment sometime next week.

"Basically, the past few weeks, I would have a few good days in a row and then get to a certain point in the rehab and then kind of hit a road block," Avila said. "I would have to kind of back off for a little bit.

"But the last couple of days, I've felt pretty good. I'm hoping it's not too much longer."

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.