Saturday, February 25, 2012
Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios swelled the ranks of position players to arrive early to camp, and Adam Dunn stopped by mid morning as well and spoke with the Chicago media.
Count Beckham among those excited to get to know Robin Ventura.
“His coolness gets into you just by talking to him,” Beckham said of his laid-back manager.
Beckham has dropped a few pounds before camp this year, coming in more muscular. “I feel leaner, I feel more athletic. I can tell a difference.”
Ventura compared his rookie season with Beckham’s struggles in 2010-11.
“For me, my rookie year, I struggled worse than he did. But you have to get to a point where you stop caring about the results and just worry about the process, and play how you know how to play and not think two pitches ahead and think ‘I have to get a hit here.’ Stay simple, play. Again, you’re looking at a kid that’s talented with great instincts. Let those play out instead of letting your mind cripple you a bit.”
Ventura was asked about Rios, Beckham and Dunn arriving early.
“I think it’s great, guys coming in early,” he said. “I haven’t seen Adam yet, we were out on the field. Alex and Gordon getting out there, it’s good. Alex looks great, looks in shape, swinging great. It’s good to see everybody and getting out and being ready to go, especially a couple days early. I’m happy seeing them out here.”
Rios told reporters he hoped to just get back to basics and have more fun in 2012.
“Sometimes it’s just that simple,” Ventura explained. “I think you go through seasons where you outthink yourself. And you just need to get back to basics. It can happen for him, he’s a talented kid. I’m really looking forward to getting going. Sometimes it’s just that, come in with a clear mind and just play baseball instead of over-thinking.”
As to where Rios is likely to play … “We’re still going through that,” Ventura answered. “I know he’s played right field, he’s played center field. How that’s all going to match-up, there’s no concrete thing to it. Guys are going to have to be open to moving around and whatever is best for the team is what we’re going to go with, and guys need to be flexible in that way.”
Beckham, Rios and Dunn are all keys to the White Sox offense after each struggled in 2011. Ventura says patience and hunger are the keys, but the first step is showing up here in Glendale with the right attitude.
“Just that they’re hungry. I like that. You’re paying attention to how they come in. Guys came in early. We had Manto go see Adam in Houston. Those are signs to me that guys are hungry to come back and play well. And they’re willing to do that for the team, and that’s important, cause they’re showing everyone else on the team they’re already in, they’re willing to come in and work and do whatever is necessary.
“It’s (struggling) happened to a lot of guys. It’s part of playing the game and that’s what makes it difficult. But he’s had success in the past, and that’s what I’m counting on. I’ve seen him (Dunn) play, I’ve seen him do well. I want him to come in and be prepared to do that. He has a clean slate. He’s on our squad, he’s not going anywhere. I’m patient. I know it’s there.”
Pitchers & Catchers
Ventura joked about yet another day of PFP and pitchers throwing bullpen sessions: “They’re getting everybody out! They are having fun, they are relaxed and everyone is fine physically. Just to see them throw is important to me.”
Don Cooper to A.J. Pierzynski as Coop watched Gavin Floyd throw to AJ: “You’re going to like that AJ, he’s throwing some heat, and it’s got movement too.”
Funny watching Richard Dotson, a 20-game winner with the Sox in 1983, and Bobby Thigpen, who posted a 57-save effort in 1990, now throwing batting practice.
“That’s all I do now,” said Thigpen. “Hit bats.”
Words to Live By for All of Us
“It’s hard to get any action when you smell like Ben-Gay.” — Anonymous