UPDATE: It’s official:
Wednesday, 6:53 PM: After seven years managing in the minors and six more coaching in the majors, Rick Renteria has hit the big time. The Cubs will name him their new manager on Thursday, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman and others are reporting.
Renteria played parts of five seasons in the majors as a light-hitting infielder from 1986-1994. His only season with more than 100 plate appearances was 1993, when he played in 103 games for the expansion Marlins franchise and hit .255/.314/.326 in 263 at-bats. He started out managing in the Marlins system in 1998 and he joined the Padres organization in 2003, working his way up from A-ball hitting coach to Triple-A manager to major league bench coach.
Renteria, who was with the Padres as a bench coach when current Cubs GM Jed Hoyer worked in San Diego, recently got Jake Peavy’s endorsement for the job.
“He’ll make an outstanding manager if the Cubs do go that way,” Peavy told CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes. “He brings a lot of intangibles. He knows the game, is gonna work hard, gonna get after it. He just holds guys accountable, but at the same time has a great relationship with the players. He gets the best out of guys and I’m pulling for him to get that job.”
After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.
In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.
The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.
“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”
Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.359/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.