CHICAGO -- Following an 8-6 loss to Max Scherzer and the Tigers on Sept. 12, 2012, the White Sox still sat atop the American League Central by one game over Detroit.
Needless to say, the second year of Robin Ventura's managerial career has been quite different than the first. This 2013 September story focuses on player development, with the White Sox having been eliminated from postseason competition on Sept. 8.
"You're playing extra guys that we brought up for different reasons," Ventura said. "You want to get a look at them, maybe let some pitchers work through some things instead of taking them out. It's just different.
"There's no part of it that's easy or that this has been fun at all. It's work, and you're trying to find ways to change it. That's part of going into the offseason and seeing what we have right now until the end of the year. From that point, you start making assessments, and figuring out which way we're going and how we're going to do it."
Ventura spoke Thursday like a manager who will be at the helm in 2014, with one year remaining on his three-year deal. It's a stance Ventura has strongly espoused ever since this current version of the White Sox began to struggle.
The reshaping or retooling process under general manager Rick Hahn is pretty much at an ideas stage right now. But Ventura will be consulted as the process moves forward and Ventura feels confident that he'll be running a competitive squad.
"We're pretty confident with what we have pitching-wise and what goes into the future with that," Ventura said. "It's always communication and looking at what we had this year and what you think was going to happen and what happened, and you're going to change it.
"You learn more going through stuff like this. I don't know if it makes you better. I don't wish this on anybody, but again, in the end of it, you're better for it."
When asked about looking back on this year with a little humor when the team is successful one or two years from now, a smiling Ventura hoped for sooner than later.
"I would like to think a year from now," Ventura said. "Or six months from now."