Ventura joins ballclub as special advisor

Ventura joins ballclub as special advisor

CHICAGO -- When Buddy Bell returned to the White Sox four years ago, he ran into Robin Ventura at Spring Training and immediately tried to get the six-time Gold Glover back into the organization in a coaching capacity.

On Monday afternoon, those negotiations came to fruition.

Ventura, who played 10 years for the White Sox and became a true fan favorite, will return as a special advisor to Bell, the director of player development. The plan for Ventura is to have him visit each of the organization's Minor League affiliates throughout the summer, starting in July, and evaluate the player performances and report to Bell.

Actually, Ventura turned down earlier overtures because he was committed to being with his wife and raising his three daughters and one son in California. With his children getting older and the White Sox giving him flexibility in his work schedule, Ventura acknowledged during a Monday conference call that he felt entirely comfortable with this particular opportunity.

"I have a little more free time than I did before," Ventura said. "[White Sox chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] and Buddy gave me the opportunity to be a little flexible. That's the part that intrigued me.

"It would have been a difficult sell if it would be six months. But going to coach just for three or four days [at a time] was appealing."

Bell said it was not a difficult decision to bring back Ventura and it certainly wasn't a hard sell to convince Reinsdorf of the hire. Bell added that Ventura's job will evolve as he goes, but there might be instances in which Ventura works with specific players either because they need Ventura's help or Bell wants another set of eyes on him.

"Jerry has been pushing this for a long time," Bell said. "We were trying to find the right time to talk about it. I think it was April that Robin and I sat down and came to terms on this is really what he wants to do. That was great."

"Awesome, great idea," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of the return of his friend and former infield mate. "He's a baseball man and he loves this organization."

This hire isn't looked upon by Ventura as his first step toward a Major League job, with Ventura joking that he doesn't plan on becoming president of the team.

"I'm willing to put my foot in the water and see what happens," Ventura said. "I'm excited to be able to do this within the White Sox organization."