Adam Dunn already impressed with Robin Ventura
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org February 28, 2012 10:00PM
Adam Dunn, taking batting practice in Arizona, said first-year manager Robin Ventura is going to be great. | Jae C. Hong~AP
Updated: April 1, 2012 8:19AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Robin Ventura crossed off another thing in his season of firsts Tuesday when he addressed the team on the first day of full-squad workouts.
The players, especially those who’ve heard numerous manager speeches, applauded it.
“It was good,’’ Adam Dunn said. ‘‘It wasn’t long-winded like a lot of these. Straight to the point, in and out.’’
It’s early, but Dunn’s first impressions of Ventura have been all good.
“He’s going to be great,’’ Dunn said. “The good thing is, he’s not far removed from being a player. He knows what we’re going through. He can relate to us pretty well.’’
Veteran left-hander Matt Thornton said the theme of Ventura’s talk was respect.
“He put it in our hands as veterans to be leaders and do things the right way and set a good example,’’ Thornton said. “We’re going to play the game the right way, play hard and surprise some people.
“Details. The little things. Making good throws in [pitchers fielding practice], making good throws in team fundamentals and not beating ourselves. When we do the little things right now, it will make it a whole lot easier when you have 35,000 people screaming.’’
Ventura’s high way
Ventura said he’s stressing effort, being on time and being ready on Opening Day.
“Everybody’s put too much time and effort into coming out here, organizing all this stuff and doing stuff for the team for guys just to show up and not care,’’ Ventura said. “It’s offensive to me for people to come in and not put out a good effort. It’s pretty much that simple, for right now.’’
Ventura said he’s not a big rules guy.
“There’s a few,’’ he said. “Be on time is definitely at the top. Being a good teammate, and respecting each other and who you represent as far as the White Sox, the city. That kind of stuff. There’s not a bunch of them.’’
Dan the man
Left-handed-hitting first baseman Dan Johnson, who batted .119 in 91 at-bats for the Tampa Bay Rays last season, was not a dramatic addition, but he has a flair for the dramatic.
Johnson, 32, is best known for his two-out, two-strike home run against the New York Yankees on the final night of the 2011 regular season. It capped a seven-run comeback in the Rays’ 8-7 victory that clinched the American League wild card for Tampa Bay. He has had several dramatic homers, including one against the Sox last year.
“I think I can harness that adrenaline and use it in a good way,’’ Johnson said. “Everything slows down for me. I really enjoy those situations and feel like I’m going to succeed. I’ve sort of built a career with it.’’
Johnson has a chance to make the team but could go to Class AAA as insurance in case of an injury to Paul Konerko or Dunn.
“As everything unfolds, we’ll see what the opportunity is,’’ Johnson said.
Johnson had other teams interested, “but I was looking for an opportunity to play, and Chicago is known as a place where you get a chance.’’