White Sox looking for companion to long balls
Ventura says his club needs to find other ways to score besides homers
CHICAGO -- The White Sox offense produces home runs, numerous home runs, in fact.
Sending that piece of information into the public eye represents the same level of breaking news as saying it's often cold in Chicago during April. It's just accentuated now, because the White Sox didn't have a run scored aside from the long ball through their first two victories.
Manager Robin Ventura has no problems with his team consistently clearing the fence, after presiding over a team that hit 211 homers last season. But the 2012 squad also finished fourth in runs scored in the American League, pointing up the need to find other ways to cross the plate.
"You'd like to be a little more complete in scoring runs," Ventura said. "For the length of the season, you're going to need more than just home runs.
"In the summer it's going to be different, because the ball carries so much. To win a lot of games and to win the tough games, you're going to have to knock runs in besides the home runs. Home runs are nice, but you're going to have to string together some hits and get some runs other ways. I like the home runs, but I also like those tough runs to be scored, too."
Every hitter in the White Sox starting lineup has home run power, as Adam Dunn mentioned following Wednesday's 5-2 victory over the Royals. For Dunn, who ranks fifth among active players with 407 career home runs after his Wednesday blast, the approach taken to the plate is more important than the results.
"You've got to see it and hit it. Wherever it goes, it's going to go," Dunn said. "You start trying to force things to the opposite field and you get yourself in bad habits. I think everybody has a really good approach going right now and hopefully it stays.
"If you have a plan and you go up there with a plan, if it works, nobody can say you went up there just to go up there. Throughout the course of the year, that's going to pay off."
Series win over Royals isn't season-maker
CHICAGO -- Beating the Kansas City Royals was not a common occurrence for the 2012 White Sox. Try just six victories out of 18 games.
So taking this opening series against a Royals squad expected to contend with the White Sox for a playoff spot stands as meaningful. But clearly one strong series does not a season make in the course of a 162-game ledger.
"Don't just give us the pennant yet," White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn said with a smile. "I don't care how good we've played, you can't put too much stock into it until you get a real good sample."
According to seasoned veterans such as Dunn and reliever Matt Thornton, somewhere around 50 games or six weeks in gives you a better feel of what kind of team you have. But under the managerial regime of Robin Ventura, the focus never gets further ahead than the game at hand.
"It's something that Robin and [bench coach] Mark [Parent] have kind of instilled on us," Thornton said. "It doesn't matter how we've started out, what yesterday was or what tomorrow is. It's about right now, and preparing right now and doing your best to help the team right now."
Just as the White Sox certainly don't feel overconfident because of this opening American League Central success, they aren't exactly overlooking the Royals because of their first series shortcomings.
"That's a way better team than it was last year," Dunn said. "We feel like we are probably a little better too because a lot of guys got experience they didn't have.
"Jake [Peavy] and Chris [Sale] shut them down, and that's a really good offense to shut down. They absolutely shut them down. A lot of credit goes to those guys."
Ventura maintains bunt call was right decision
CHICAGO -- With two runners on and none out in the seventh inning of Wednesday's 5-2 victory over the Royals, White Sox manager Robin Ventura elected to have Alejandro De Aza bunt the runners over. Ventura said the move wasn't a no-brainer, but with an adept bat-handler such as Jeff Keppinger on-deck behind a good bunter such as De Aza, Ventura liked the chances of giving his bullpen another insurance run.
Basically, he had confidence in the hitters behind De Aza.
The plan didn't work, primarily because Tyler Flowers was thrown out at home trying to score on a wild pitch from Royals reliever Luke Hochevar, meaning Keppinger's line drive to right represented the third out instead of a sacrifice fly. But Ventura stands firmly behind his decision and isn't worried about Sabermetrics detractors who don't like giving up outs in general.
"Well, they're not sitting in my seat either," Ventura said with a wry smile. "There's a lot of those guys out there, but they're not sitting in this seat and they're not sitting in this dugout. So it's a different feel when you're a player or a manager than it is just to sit there and write numbers down on a piece of paper."
Beckham feels he's more than a quality glove
CHICAGO -- Although the statistic was not listed on the final boxscore, Gordon Beckham deserved a defensive save in the White Sox 1-0 victory over the Royals on Opening Day. If not for his diving catch on Lorenzo Cain's line drive in the seventh inning, Chris Sale might have been looking at a first-and-third, none out situation.
Beckham added another leaping catch of a Cain line drive in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 5-2 victory. While Beckham takes great pride in his Gold Glove-caliber defense, he wants to be known for more than his stellar glove work.
"It goes both ways. I want to obviously contribute offensively, too," Beckham said. "I'm not the kind of guy that enjoys just playing a good defense and not getting hits I need to get."
Proving to be a man of his word, Beckham matched a career high with four singles in Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Royals. Beckham is coming off a season where he set career highs with 151 games played, 123 hits, 16 homers and 62 runs scored.
"I wish they would have come in a win, for sure," said Beckham of his four hits, of which three went to right field.
Third to first
• Tyler Flowers joined Sherm Lollar (1958) as the only catchers in White Sox history to homer in each of the first two games of the season, according to STATS, LLC. Flowers also is the first White Sox player since Paul Konerko in 2010 to homer in the first two games and the first Major League catcher to accomplish the feat since Atlanta's Brian McCann in 2007.
• The White Sox have agreed to terms on Minor League contracts with right-handed pitcher Jason Berken and infielder Tyler Greene. They released outfielder Stefan Gartrell.
• Manager Robin Ventura would have no problem with sending closer Addison Reed out for a third straight day if the situation dictated. Reed felt the same way.
"He feels fine," Ventura said of Reed, who saved the first two victories in the series with Kansas City. "Right now it's still early to probably give him a day off if we get in that situation. If he feels fine, he can go back out."
"As long as my arm feels fine, I'll go out there 162 games," Reed said.
• John Danks worked five innings and allowed one run, while throwing 77 pitches, in an extended appearance during a Minor League game in Arizona on Thursday. There was no report on velocity for Danks, who began the 2013 season on the disabled list while trying to regain velocity and command following season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder performed on Aug. 6, 2012.