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Robin Ventura says trade chatter can make it difficult to focus

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Updated: August 15, 2013 7:03AM



PHILADELPHIA — Matt Thornton is gone, and reality has set in. A steady piece of the White Sox’ bullpen and clubhouse for 71/2 seasons and an All-Star performer at that, Thornton was the first player traded by general manager Rick Hahn late Friday night in advance of the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

Everyone knew the Sox were shopping Thornton, and everyone knows they’re shopping other veterans as well. It was still something of a shock in the clubhouse.

“These guys read a newspaper or look at the names floating around; now one of them is true,’’ manager Robin Ventura said Saturday.

Jesse Crain, an All-Star selection, is also rumored to be on the block. Crain’s contract is up after the season, and he knows he might be next. Or standing in line.

“With [Thornton] being traded, you know it’s going to happen,’’ Crain said, not specifically about himself but trade activity in general. “That kind of opens that door.’’

Jake Peavy left for a rehab start in Huntsville, Ala. If his rib checks out, he could be gone soon. Alex Rios, Matt Lindstrom, Alexei Ramirez and others have had their names dragged through the rumor mill.

“It does become tougher to concentrate,’’ Ventura said. “It’s our job to make sure they’re focused on the right stuff. It becomes a little tougher because it was a rumor before, but now something has happened.’’

Ventura knows more trades are coming. How many, he’s not sure.

“Again, I don’t know; you don’t know exactly how it’s going to go,’’ he said. “[Hahn’s] taking it on a case-by-case basis.

“You deal with it when it happens. Right now I have these guys. I haven’t been told to do anything different. You manage like you would any other time. It’s hard for guys hearing rumors; you make sure they keep their focus and play hard. In the end, it’s their numbers and everything else. So it still counts.’’

The Sox split a pair of extra-inning games Saturday, winning 5-4 in 11 behind four hits, including two doubles, by Alexei Ramirez, who doubled and scored in the 11th. The Phillies won the second game 2-1 on Michael Young’s single against Simon Castro that scored Jimmy Rollins from second in the 13th. Sox lefty Hector Santiago allowed one run in 71/3 innings in Game 2 while striking out nine and lowering his ERA to 3.30 in the no-decision.

Gordon Beckham left the second game in the 12th inning with a left quad bruise after colliding with right fielder Casper Wells. Beckham’s injury isn’t believed to be serious, Ventura said, but he won’t play Sunday.

As the Sox head into the All-Star break, almost every player is on notice, especially now that Thornton is with the Red Sox.

“For a player, it’s different,’’ Ventura said. “Now it’s something that has happened to kind of open the can. You see rumors, and now you have to be able to concentrate and do your stuff on the field. There’s more that goes into it as far as how you are going to get there [if traded], how the family is going to get there. Just little things that people don’t think about.

“They just think Matt picked up and went to Boston. He’s got a lot of stuff in Chicago he’s got to get, and he has to get situated and figure out a routine there.’’



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