GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Adam Dunn’s praise for manager Robin Ventura has reached new levels.
Last season, the White Sox designated hitter/first baseman applauded his first-year manager for the temperate style in which he operates. Ventura -- who finished third in last year’s AL manager of the year vote -- has become popular with players because he allows them to be themselves in the clubhouse while demanding maximum effort on the field.
When he addressed the media for the first time Sunday, Dunn suggested Ventura’s style has a certain fountain-of-youth quality ingrained.
“He’s exactly what we thought we were getting from day one when we met him,” Ventura said. “He never changed. He’s the kind of manager who adds years to your playing career. People really enjoy playing for a guy like him. I don’t know a better compliment to give him than that.”
Dunn also offered admiration for free agent signee Jeff Keppinger, a teammate while the pair were in Cincinnati. Keppinger’s low strikeout rate is what sets him apart from others, Dunn said.
“He’s just a solid overall really good baseball player,” Dunn said. “Those guys are few and far between and we’re lucky to have him.”
Danks improves with work
John Danks said he got better the further he went in a 15-minute bullpen session on Sunday, his second of the spring. He’d love to be further along, but Danks, who had left shoulder surgery on Aug. 6, continues to be pleased with his progress. He said a telltale sign he’s doing well is his ability to bounce back the day after he throws.
Danks will take two days off and return to the mound on Wednesday, where he will throw live batting practice. The plan calls for Danks to throw three BPs, a bullpen on March 1 and get into his first game on March 4.
“It’s not much different than what I’d be throwing if I was completely healthy,” Danks said. “I don’t know a number, but I’m trying to get it there and make the ball do some things and definitely want to pop the glove. But at the same time, I’m not trying to throw 93 mph, either. It’s intense. I’m getting work in, but it isn’t game speed.”
With Tyler Flowers behind the plate Chris Sale never has to worry about a pick me up. The left-hander stopped during the middle of his bullpen Sunday to ask Flowers if his pitches had any movement to them. Flowers replied: “Do you see me almost missing them? Yeah it’s moving.”
Flowers also earlier noted Sale’s slider was nasty. “Check that one for a scuff mark.”
-- Everyone is in camp after shortstop Alexei Ramirez, outfielder Alejandro De Aza and minor-leaguer Tyler Saladino all arrived and took physicals Sunday.
-- Ventura and general manager Rick Hahn spoke to players before the team’s first full-squad workout. Ventura’s message: let’s get going, get ready, have fun doing so and avoid trying to do too much. Hahn also encouraged players who might not make the opening day roster to stay ready. “It was just straight to the point,” Ventura said.