White Sox spring training games start in exactly one month but dont count on seeing Chris Sale or John Danks in any early action.
With the beginning of World Baseball Classic action on March 2, Major League Baseball has pushed up the start of spring training to accommodate teams. The White Sox play against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Feb. 23, which is typically a week earlier than spring training games begin.
Despite the schedule, Ventura said Wednesday the White Sox early plans wont include Sale, who completed a career-high 192 innings last season, or Danks, who had shoulder surgery in August, in the name of preservation.
Were starting really early, and I really wouldnt want him to get going, and probably Sale the same thing, Ventura said in an event at the Gilda Club, a free cancer support community for men, women and children. Probably not start them off when we start playing games. Probably push them back to maybe in the middle, where we would have been anyway, just to save him a little bit.
Ventura, who will enter his second season as White Sox manager, also said his staff has considered a different middle of the order for the 2013 season. Last season, slugger Adam Dunn often manned the third spot in the order. But with only two left-handed hitters in the starting lineup -- leadoff man Alejandro De Aza is the other -- the White Sox might put space in between the two. Alex Rios, who led the 2012 White Sox with 184 hits, a .304 average and 93 runs, is considered a top candidate if Ventura elects to switch up the lineup.
When we start our first game, Dunn might be there, but again were kicking it around, Ventura said. Maybe Rios starts there. With us not having a lot of left-handed hitters right there, you might have to separate him and De Aza a little bit more than you would normally.
Ventura also said the teams plans at third base arent concrete. Free agent signee Jeff Keppinger -- who received a three-year, 12-million deal -- is expected to man the hot corner and is the teams best option for now, Ventura said. But Ventura said Keppinger might not be restricted to third base when hes in the lineup.
I dont know if hes etched in stone, but theres a strong -- right now, thats where hes at, Ventura said. Over the course of spring, it could change as far as doing something else. I would say, as of right now, I would see him there. Not stone. Stronger than parchment.