Robin Ventura has White Sox atop AL Central

White Sox manager Robin Ventura goes over the White Sox manager Robin Ventura goes over the ground rules with home plate umpire Marty Foster. (June 28, 2012) Photo Credit: David Pokress

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Former Mets and Yankees third baseman Robin Ventura made his first appearance at Yankee Stadium as the manager of the Chicago White Sox in Thursday night's 4-3 win over the Yankees.

The first-year skipper has the White Sox (41-35) on top of the AL Central thanks in large part to a 22-14 record on the road. Chicago finished last season in third place in the division with a 79-83 record and was 37-39 through the first 76 games with a 19-21 road record in that time.

"I don't know if it's easy, but it is what it is," Ventura said of his early managerial success. "I try not to think too much of anything but just what I'm doing. It's baseball. I think I know this better than I do a lot of other stuff that I was probably doing the last seven years."

Chicago has improved in numerous offensive statistics although the roster has few differences from last year. The White Sox were outscored 320-315 through 76 games last season under now-Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen but are outscoring opponents 352-311 this year.

"I think it's the players. They're the ones that go out and play," Ventura said. "I wasn't in the clubhouse last year so I don't pretend to think that I know that. I just come in here and do what I think's right and play baseball the way we want to play baseball and these guys are coming out doing it.

"The credit for wherever we're at is to them. When it goes bad, I'm the one that has to figure out what else to do. The guys having success, it's their success."

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Before the game, Ventura said he hadn't crossed paths with many of his former teammates but took a chance to joke slightly about Andy Pettitte, who fractured his lower left leg in Wednesday's win over Cleveland.

"I haven't seen too many old faces -- yet," Ventura said. "One of them got hurt. Andy hopefully comes out but bring some milk over; he needs to get stronger bones or something, I don't know."

Having played for Joe Torre and Bobby Valentine in his time with the Yankees and Mets, respectively, Ventura said he thinks his managerial style and laid-back nature is more similar to Torre but was influenced by Valentine as well.

"You see things when you play that you remember that it's the right way," Ventura said. "Something that now I look at it -- I wasn't thinking it at the time, but now in this position you go back and you realize that that's what you think is the right way to do it. That's all you can do is do what you think is right."

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