Ventura swings for the fences

Ventura has a smooth left-handed swing, but his balance is sometimes affected by having a right ankle that is, well, borrowed.

The ankle that got mangled in a 1997 spring training slide was subjected to years of cortisone injections. After he retired in 2004, Ventura needed a cane to walk. So he had ankle transplant surgery, with a joint harvested from a cadaver.

"They didn't tell me if it came from a girl, a guy or an ape," he said.

Ventura was semi-serious about the ape. Not long after the surgery, Stephanie noticed him eating a banana.

"What are you doing?" she asked. "You hate bananas."

Not anymore.

Wearing a black-and-orange Karsten Creek cap, home course of alma mater Oklahoma State, Ventura reached the uphill, 482-yard third hole in two shots and wasn't shy on his eagle putt. It rolled 6 feet past, resulting in a three-putt par. But he had no regrets.

"I'm here for the great shot," he said.

Also for the laughs.

At one point Ventura broke out his Hawk Harrelson impression: "The guy was throwing 99 miles an hour. I said to the batboy, 'Son, give me that bat.' It's 29 ounces. I hit it over the scoreboard."

We also talked about throwing out the first pitch. Playing partner Mike Hall of the Big Ten Network did the honors before a Sox game in 2005.

And you, Robin?

"Yeah, I bounced one on purpose," he replied. "Ozzie (Guillen) was catching, and he wasn't wearing a cup. I tried to get him. He bailed."

tgreenstein@tribune.com

Twitter @TeddyGreenstein

9 holes with ... Robin Ventura

Five-second bio: The White Sox manager won six Gold Gloves and hit 18 grand slams, tied for fifth all-time.

Where: Crystal Tree, Orland Park (silver tees, front nine: 3,327 yards).

Ventura's handicap: 9.

What he shot: 41.

How he describes his game: "Hit and miss."
 

ORIOLES SCOREBOARD


PHOTO GALLERIES

SUN ORIOLES STAFF ON TWITTER

Eduardo A. Encina

Eduardo A. Encina

Orioles beat writer
Peter Schmuck

Peter Schmuck

Sports Columnist
Dan Connolly

Dan Connolly

Orioles and national baseball writer
Dean Jones Jr.

Dean Jones Jr.

Orioles editor

PICTURES: ORIOLES PLAYERS

PICTURES: ALL-TIME ORIOLES