HOUSTON -- Snubbed several times for the All-Star team, Robin Ventura won’t be this season.
The White Sox manager -- only a two-time All-Star as a player despite eight seasons in which he had an OPS above .800 -- was named to the American League’s coaching staff for this summer’s exhibition by Detroit manager Jim Leyland.
Ventura said he’s excited to return to Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, for another opportunity to participate in the Mid-Summer Classic. Ventura played for the Mets from 1999-2001.
The game will be held July 16.
“It’s special,” Ventura said. “Having played there, it makes it nice. But it’s always an honor any time you get asked to do anything with the All-Star Game. It’s one of those you’re willing to do anything, it’s a nice honor.”
Ventura said Leyland approached him a while back about the possibility and he was pleased to accept the offer. Travel plans won’t be difficult for Ventura as the club ends the first half in Philadelphia, about 95 miles from New York City.
Ventura said he didn’t have any objections to forgoing part of his midseason break to participate.
“There’s an obligation if you’re asked to do it,” Ventura said. “As a player, guys should play in that. It’s important for the game. Any time you’re asked to do it, you should honor it.”
De Aza out
Alejandro De Aza was removed from the White Sox lineup on Friday with stomach sickness, per Ventura. De Aza wasn’t in the clubhouse as he went to a Houston-area hospital for treatment, Ventura said. There’s no timeline for De Aza’s return.
The illness comes just as De Aza has been heating up with the bat.
Over his last 13 games, De Aza has a .377/.443/.434 slash line with seven runs and nine RBIs. Ventura said he has been informed “nothing major is going on but he knew De Aza wouldn’t be able to start. Gordon Beckham will hit first for the White Sox in De Aza’s stead and Casper Wells will bat eighth and start in center field.
“You start figuring out your options, (Beckham) just seems more of an option to fill that in,” Ventura said. “He’s been making great contact in tough at-bats and he has a little more speed at the top that you can do some things with. We got to have somebody, and he’s the best option for us today.”
Axelrod pushed back
With Wednesday’s rainout and a day off Thursday the White Sox elected to push Dylan Axelrod’s next start until Tuesday in Minneapolis. Ventura said the White Sox are monitoring the rookie’s workload the way they did with Jose Quintana last season. Axelrod last pitched in Monday’s Fog Bowl and returned to the mound after an official 70-minute delay though his timeout was longer than that because the White Sox had a long inning at-bat prior to the stoppage.
“When you get younger guys, it’s just nice to give him a little bit of rest,” Ventura said. “We would have done the same thing last year with Q last year. Give him a little bit of a breather. It’s not a demotion. It’s more giving him an extra day of rest to get his strength back and getting from there.”
-- Ventura likes how the Blackhawks got goals from more than the usual suspects in Wednesday/Thursday’s triple overtime 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. He also noted he was able to stay awake the entire time. “That was probably one of the better hockey games as far as intensity and what’s on the line,” Ventura said. “To get it from the guys they got it, it’s probably a good sign for them to get other guys in the action.”
-- Outfielder Dewayne Wise, who has been on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 30 with a strained right hamstring, began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte Friday.
-- The White Sox committed a season-high three errors in Tuesday’s loss and are 11-20 when they make an error in a game this season.
-- White Sox draft picks Danny Hayes (13th round, Oregon State) and Adam Engel (19th, Louisville) are set to play in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Oregon State plays Mississippi State in the CWS opener Saturday and Louisville faces Indiana in the second game.