Saturday, February 23, 2013
Ventura pleased with opening game results
By Bruce Levine
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Chicago White Sox's 9-0 whitewash of the Los Angeles Dodgers was a nice start to the Cactus league season for Robin Ventura's team as he begins his second season as manager.
Ventura, who finished third in the American league Manager of the Year voting, was pleased with his club's first game.
"It was nice. Guys came out and swung the bat," Ventura said. "The pitchers (did well). Ax [Dylan Axelrod] did a great job starting out and helped us get started on the right foot. Today it was about the offense.
The White Sox used 14 hits to score the nine runs against the Dodgers. Catcher Tyler Flowers and minor league infielder Seth Loman added the first home runs of the spring for the White Sox. Getting into game shape and becoming used to the grind of 200 games takes a bit of time even for veteran players.
"Just the speed of the game and starting back up again [takes time]," Ventura said. "You can do everything you want to do on the back fields and take ground balls and that but once the games begin it is just different."
Axelrod threw three shutout innings and impressed the manager once again with his poise and command.
"He knows how to pitch," Ventura said. "He is one of those guys who won't dazzle you with the radar gun, but he is a smart pitcher. He just comes out and finds a way to keep people off balance."
The White Sox have an abundance of depth in the pitching staff that may keep deserving players like Axelrod in the minor leagues, despite their major league ability.
"It's about competition," Ventura said. "That's what happens down here. You don't know what will happen toward the end [of spring training] with that. You want then competing and getting after it earn a spot."
Axelrod has minor league options left but says he feels he has proved he can compete at the big-league level.
"We are very deep," Axelrod said. "My job is to be there when I am needed no matter what happens in spring. I am trying to make a point that I can pitch at that level. I just [need] to compete."