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Ken Williams says he ‘will do a lot more listening at the beginning’

Updated: March 27, 2012 8:23AM

GLENDALE, Ariz. — “Kenny’s puppet.’’

That’s the last thing anyone associated with the White Sox wants to hear about Robin Ventura, but with Ozzie Guillen gone and Ventura taking his place with no managerial experience, there is no way to avoid that ­characterization.

General manager Ken Williams said he will make suggestions to his manager, then get out of the way. At his first rodeo, Ventura is smart enough to listen and confident enough in his staff and his own baseball instincts to manage the way he sees fit.

“He hasn’t disappointed,’’ Williams said. “The guys he wanted on his ­coaching staff have not disappointed as well. There’s a lot to be positive about, there’s a lot to be optimistic about. Some of the things they have planned in their program will make us a fundamental ballclub and a ballclub that plays the game the right way.’’

Williams was asked point blank if he plans to be more of a hands-on GM with a first-year manager.

“One of the things I expounded on in [meetings] that we’ve had as a staff — and I certainly want to interject some things that I feel we need here — but I don’t want to do so at the risk of stifling everyone else’s ideas and some of the things they bring to the table that we may have been missing.’’

Ventura came to the job with his own set of ideas, including running his camp. Williams likes that.

“One of the things I hate the most is when people say, ‘Because we’ve always done it this way, this is how we’re going to do it,’ ” Williams said. “I don’t think it allows for creativity. I don’t think it allows for people to get the most out of their staff. I want them to tap into it and tap into it without thinking that because I express an opinion about something, that is the ­overriding decision we’re going to make.

“I’m in a position that I’m going to do a lot more listening at the beginning, and I’m going to interject when I think it’s necessary and express my opinion. But he was hired for a reason, and that was to run this club the way he sees fit.”

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