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Rick Hahn: Only blaming Robin Ventura is 'unfair'

CHICAGO -- Uninterested in finding a single scapegoat for the Chicago White Sox's disappointing start, general manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday that everybody needs to accept responsibility for a team that has lacked fight and has been uninspiring over the opening month of the season.

Outcry for manager Robin Ventura to be fired has been vented mostly on social media, but Hahn won't let any one guy take the fall for the collective disappointment that has been the White Sox in the early going.

"To make one individual the focal point? I don't think that's fair," Hahn said Tuesday before the start of a six-game homestand that features series against the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds. "Again, this accountability is shared, starting with the players in uniform, going to the coaches, the manager, the front office. This is on all of us."

The White Sox made a number of roster upgrades this season both through trades and free agency and looked much improved from the team that lost 89 games last season. But they have opened with an 8-14 record and were tied for last place in the American League Central at the start of play Tuesday.

The last week and a half has been particularly odd for the White Sox. They were involved in a brawl April 23 with the Kansas City Royals, and the next two days saw a game suspended by weather in the eighth inning and a postponement because of rain.

They then went to Baltimore and had two more games postponed because of unrest in the city and played a third game without fans. They moved on to Minnesota where they were swept in a four-game series.

Pinning down the White Sox's main issue isn't easy. The offense has been atrocious, the starting pitching has been brutal of late and the defense and baserunning has been an issue throughout. Ventura has been knocked for the team's struggles with basic fundamental play.

"In times of adversity I think it's more important for us to pull together and reinforce what we're doing as a unit than to say anything specific about any individual," Hahn said. "Our focus is on winning tonight and if people that are here in uniform are the ones we feel put us in the best position to win this game tonight -- that's from a player standpoint, a coach standpoint, an executive standpoint, scouts, everyone -- we're in this together and the accountability is shared by all of us."

When the White Sox picked up two victories April 26 against the Kansas City Royals, a turnaround appeared to be underway. Then came the seven-game trip, suddenly reduced to a five-game trip, which ended 0-5 with one disappointing defeat coming after the next.

Ventura is aware of the fan dissatisfaction in the job he is doing but won't take much time to dwell on it.

"Everybody's frustrated; we're frustrated too," Ventura said. "You understand that, but in the end we gotta focus on what we're doing right here, and I get it. I'm frustrated. You understand where people lash out and why they do it. Again, that doesn't stop what we're trying to do here and the focus on playing the Tigers."

The Milwaukee Brewers already have fired Ron Roenicke and replaced him with Craig Counsell so at least one team has deemed it deep enough into a season to get a decent read on how their team was being managed.

"Ron's a good guy and it's unfortunate," Ventura said. "But again, any of that, I'm not sitting here thinking of my own situation with that. We're trying to win a game tonight. That becomes the focus."

And just as Jose Abreu did over the weekend in Minnesota, White Sox players are putting the blame squarely on their own shoulders.

"It's not his fault, it's ours; it's always the players' fault," Eaton said. "It's never fun when the manager gets the brunt of everything. He's a great manager. From my standpoint, he's the type of manager you need in the clubhouse, a cool-headed manager that doesn't come in here after every loss and preach to us about how we should have done stuff. But when something needs to be said he says it. We hear it and we apply it immediately because he says it."

In Hahn's mind, that's the kind of accountability he is looking for, and what makes him believe a change in the team's fortunes is coming soon.

"To hear our players stand up over the last few days and say, ‘Look, this is on us, we need to start performing better,' I think is a great first step to getting this thing right," Hahn said.