PHILADELPHIA -- Behind stellar bullpen work through parts of eight seasons with the White Sox, Matt Thornton topped the all-time franchise charts in relief appearances and holds.
Thornton also appeared in at least 60 games in every season but the current one, as the southpaw was traded with cash considerations to the Red Sox late Friday night in exchange for outfielder Brandon Jacobs. But his value ran deeper than on-field accomplishments, as his White Sox management and teammates have explained since the deal.
"You look at [Thornton's] time here and I think just the appearances and things he has done as a pitcher, he did man's work here," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "He's a pro. [The Red Sox] got a good guy."
"He's a great teammate and a good leader for the younger guys," said White Sox reliever Jesse Crain, who spoke with Thornton, as did Ventura, before his departure. "A professional who went about his business, got his work done, worked hard and is a guy who definitely is going to be missed."
Crain joked about taking over the role as bullpen elder statesman with Thornton gone, before realizing that Matt Lindstrom is actually older. Thornton and Crain provided valuable guidance to rookie relievers such as Addison Reed, Nate Jones and Hector Santiago, beginning last season -- although the focus of their wisdom wasn't really pitching.
"I wouldn't say we talked too much about mechanics stuff, but any time me, Nate or Hector had questions or concerns, I know last year [Thornton] talked to us about staying ready and [pacing] yourself for [a] 162-game season," Reed said. "He was awesome, great, I'm excited for him.
"He has a chance to join a team that's contending, and it means a little more than it did here. So he gets to be in a playoff hunt, and that's what he wanted."
Finding a late-inning emotional balance was another lesson imparted by Thornton to his young teammates.
"If you saw him after a game, you'd never know if he gave up 10 runs or struck out three in a row," Reed said. "That's the best way to go about it. If anything, he showed me not to worry about things. If you're doing well or bad, have the same attitude day in and day out -- because there's nothing you can do about that previous outing."
Ventura wants to return to White Sox in 2014
PHILADELPHIA -- Since the White Sox first-half tailspin hit full plummet, it has become an almost bi-weekly question as to whether Robin Ventura wants to continue managing for the final year of his three-year deal in 2014. But when asked Saturday about rebuilding or contending, does he still plan to be with the White Sox, Ventura provided his answer before the question was finished.
"I would like to be here," Ventura said. "I would like to be here, either way."
As for his feeling about whether the White Sox will be in rebuild mode next year or still poised to contend, Ventura couldn't offer up a reply with quite as much certainty.
"Again, you don't know exactly how it's going to go," Ventura said. "[General manager Rick Hahn] is taking it on a case-by-case basis of looking at what the deal is. That's what I think.
"If it is [rebuilding], you go from there. I don't know for sure what we are going to have going into next year. We haven't [gotten] into trying to plan 2014. We'll get through this, and I don't know if I even have an answer. I hope we are [contenders]."
Sox players staying focused amid trade rumors
PHILADELPHIA -- The widespread rumors involving the potential White Sox rebuild took on a more realistic tone when left-handed reliever Matt Thornton was traded with cash considerations to Boston on Friday in exchange for toolsy Minor League outfielder Brandon Jacobs.
For relievers Matt Lindstrom and Jesse Crain, starting pitchers Jake Peavy and John Danks and outfielder Alex Rios -- all players whom other teams have expressed interest in -- the question becomes more "when" than "if" regarding trades. But manager Robin Ventura said it's his staff's job to keep the focus on baseball.
"Any time these guys read a paper or look at the names floating around, now one of them is true," Ventura said. "It does become tougher to concentrate. It's our job to make sure they are focused on the right stuff. It does become a little tougher because it was a rumor before, but now something has happened. It doesn't mean the rest of them are going to happen."
Crain, who stands as a prime trade target despite working his way back from shoulder soreness that put him on the disabled list, admits there is a little bit of a "Who's next?" feeling for those in the mix.
"[The Thornton deal] kind of opens that door," said Crain. "But like we said the whole time, you've just got to keep going out there and playing one day at a time and win games for the team you're on.
"That's what the guys are going to try to do, and for me personally I've just got to get healthy every day and see where that takes me. You can only control certain things. You can't worry about everything else."
Veal recalled from Triple-A Charlotte
PHILADELPHIA -- The departure of Matt Thornton to Boston via trade on Friday opened up another relief chance for Donnie Veal, who was called up from Triple-A Charlotte prior to Saturday's doubleheader in Philadelphia.
Veal has an 8.59 ERA over 14 appearances covering two stints with the White Sox this season. He has also held left-handed hitters to a .212 lifetime average, and hopes the basic work he did in Charlotte will translate to big league success.
"[At Charlotte, I focused on] trying to pound the strike zone, not trying to be too fine," said Veal, "not trying to worry about hitting corners, just getting ahead and [attacking] guys.
"I did put a little pressure on myself early this year. Obviously, that didn't go well. You can never do that. Just relax and have fun, that's what I did down there and it's been working well."
Third to first
• According to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, the newly acquired Jacobs becomes the No. 7 prospect among the White Sox Top 20. Mayo describes Jacobs as "toolsy," with power, speed and someone who is a great athlete, but still lacking in plate discipline.
• The White Sox end the first half with Interleague Play against the Phillies and start the second half at home with Interleague Play against the Braves. Those series complete the White Sox schedule against the National League.
• Both White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto (Bristol, Pa.) and third-base coach Joe McEwing (Yardley, Pa.) are natives of Pennsylvania.