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Thinner Matt Thornton says his elbow is fine

CLEVELAND OH - JULY 22: Closing pitcher Matt Thornt#37 Chicago White Sox pitches during ninth inning against ClevelIndians Progressive Field

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 22: Closing pitcher Matt Thornton #37 of the Chicago White Sox pitches during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 22, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\119607471.jpg

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Updated: April 1, 2013 12:01PM

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Adam Dunn warned Matt Thornton about his leaner frame when he showed up at spring training.

New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia seems to do OK for himself, heft and all, Dunn said. So why sweat being big? Thornton was never soft to begin with, and Dunn says players play with fire when they try to be somebody they aren’t. When Thornton came up with a tender elbow last week, Dunn said, ‘‘I told ya so.’’

Thornton, who came to camp 22 pounds lighter, is pleased to report his elbow is fine. The 36-year-old left-handed reliever threw 40 pitches of uninhibited live batting practice Wednesday.

“Oh, yeah, I let everything go,’’ Thornton said. “I threw everything I had, and as I went along, I amped up the intensity and let ’em go. Got out there real good and had no problem at all.’’

The 6-6 Thornton’s weight loss is mostly due to a change in diet. His body has a different feel, and it’s one he likes so far.

“I feel great with that,’’ he said. “It’s like no limitations at all. My body’s getting out good, and I’m getting great extension on my pitches. We’ll see what kind of dividends it pays later in the year, but right now I feel great physically.’’

Thornton remains on schedule to pitch in a game on March 5.

Gimenez ready

Barring an injury or unforeseen development, switch hitter Hector Gimenez will be the backup catcher to Tyler Flowers. At 30, Gimenez finds himself in the strange position of having a job to lose in spring training.

With 11 games of major-league experience, he’s taking nothing for granted.

“I feel like I have to go out there and compete,’’ Gimenez said Wednesday. “I don’t have it in hand yet; I have to go get it. That’s my mind-set now. That’s why I came here early, to work and prepare and be ready for the games and show what I have to help the team here and in Chicago if I go there, too.’’

Gimenez, who threw out 43 percent of base stealers (22-for-51) at Class AAA Charlotte in 2012, has flashed a good arm in Cactus League games. His left-handed bat against righties and ability to play the outfield are pluses.

This and that

After prospect Scott Snodgress starts Thursday, rotation starters begin taking the ball with Chris Sale on Friday, Jose Quintana on Saturday, Jake Peavy on Sunday, John Danks on Monday and Gavin Floyd on Tuesday. Manager Robin Ventura hasn’t announced it, but Sale going first here is one indication he’s the choice to start on Opening Day (April 1) against the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field.

◆ Shortstop Alexei Ramirez returned home to Florida to tend to a personal matter. He is expected to return Friday.

◆ Ventura on prospect Simon Castro’s three scoreless innings: “This year he has that maturity, more command and that confidence from being another year into it.’’

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