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Padres are sorry to lose Rick Renteria, ‘a tireless worker’

Logan Forsygrounds Everth Cabrerindouble play.  Cabrerhits Mark Ellis crotch disdaDodgers.  Benches cleared but no punches were thrown 7th

Logan Forsythe grounds Everth Cabrera into a double play. Cabrera hits Mark Ellis in the crotch to the disdain of the Dodgers. Benches cleared but no punches were thrown in the 7th inning. Padres Bench Coach Rick Renteria restrains Cabrera.

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Updated: December 9, 2013 11:09AM



When San Diego Padres catcher Nick Hundley thinks about Rick Renteria’s impact on the club, he remembers the team flights.

“He’d come back to where I was sitting and we’d talk about different situations in the [just concluded] game or series,” Hundley said Thursday. “And then he’d talk about the other manager’s tendencies going forward into the next series. To get a jump on guys.

“He’d be watching film on the plane — just a tireless worker. The term ‘go an extra mile’ doesn’t apply to him. He’ll go an extra two miles.”

This is what the Cubs are getting as a manager, say those who know the 51-year-old Southern California ­native best.

Renteria became the Cubs’ fourth manager in five years — leaving behind a big hole in the San Diego Padres’ team culture, to hear Padres players talk about their outgoing bench coach.

“He deserves to be a big-league manager. At the same time I’m sad because we lose him and everything he means to us in this clubhouse,” Padres outfielder Will Venable said. “There’s a way to play this game, and I believe that Ricky knows that way as well as anybody. No one did a better job of getting us prepared for that.

“But also, if it didn’t happen, it’s finding a reason it didn’t happen and stressing that adjustments need to be made. Whether it’s a small thing or a big thing, Ricky made sure he would address it right away, and in a way everybody respected. Sometimes that would mean it’s time to raise your voice, and being tough with you. But in a way that was for the betterment of the team and for the betterment of the individual.”

Renteria apparently is universally loved by those who know him, a famously nice guy who said Thursday it’s rare to see him without a smile, “even in difficult times.”

But everyone from Padres manager Bud Black to San Diego players say he’s no pushover.

“If something needs to be said, he’s going to say it. He’s never afraid to approach it that way,” Hundley said. “At the same time, he’s never, ever going to get on guys or yell at guys just to do it. He’s always going to have reasons for it, where it’s necessary.”

Notes

Team president Theo Epstein said he anticipates Rick Renteria’s coaching staff coming together quickly but “we’re not at the point yet where we can make any announcements on the coaching staff.” Pitching coach Chris Bosio will be back, according to sources.

◆ At the same time they presented their new manager, the Cubs fired longtime respected baseball operations administration manager Patti James, a three-decade employee many considered one of the hardest-working employees in the department.

◆ Well-liked bullpen catcher Andy Lane was fired this week after three seasons with the club.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

Twitter: @GDubCub



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