White Sox notes: Hitters frustrated, but remain confident

White Sox notes: Hitters frustrated, but remain confident
April 13, 2013, 3:15 pm
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CLEVELAND -- The team’s .280 on-base percentage isn’t pleasing to the eye.

Nor is the White Sox .145 average with runners in scoring position.

Frustration is a word that has been used often over these first 10 games. But as displeased with the results as they are, the veteran nature of the White Sox roster has helped hitters keep their early struggles in perspective.

“In the grand scheme of things it’s nothing,” first baseman Adam Dunn said. “It’s literally 10 games into the season. But it is frustrating when you have opportunities to do things and I don’t care if it’s the first game of the season or not, when you don’t, naturally you’re going to be frustrated.”

The White Sox have scored 35 runs, which ranks 13th among the American League’s 15 teams. In four of their 10 games, the White Sox have scored two or fewer runs.

Despite their struggles, hitting coach Jeff Manto hasn’t spotted any huge flaws with his hitters. He said he has been pleased with his team’s plate discipline even though the White Sox have walked only 15 times.

“We’ve been having quality at-bats,” Manto said. “I see a lot of good approaches. I see some hips flying here and there, but that’s correctable. That’s a feel-type thing. I don’t see any mechanical errors so right now I’m OK with what I’m seeing.

History tells you not to worry. They will put up the numbers they’re supposed to put up. You want it to be now, and I understand that because these games are just as important. But sometimes it doesn’t happen that way. I’m not concerned in the least.”

Ventura thinks his roster is built to endure tough times.

He has experienced veterans in Dunn, Paul Konerko, Alex Rios and Jeff Keppinger, who understand the season has just begun and that negative thoughts are no good.

That’s a good thing.

“They’ve been through long seasons before,” Ventura said. “You can’t start heading down that road of looking at the negatives. That’s part of the discipline of playing baseball, to put stuff behind you and keep grinding every day and think about today instead of down the road or three days ago.”

As long as the performance turns around soon, Dunn won’t worry. He knows doing so won’t help him at the plate. He and his teammates also have a long track record of success to back up their belief.

“It’s definitely a different kind of frustration than it’d be if it was over a larger sample size,” Dunn said. “As a team we’re good enough to drive in a lot of runs and so far we haven’t done that. But I definitely don’t foresee that being too big of an issue.”

Cooper released from hospital

Pitching coach Don Cooper is out of the hospital and will spend the rest of the White Sox road trip resting in Chicago and not Nashville as originally planned. Although he was released, Ventura said Cooper still doesn’t feel good as he recovers from a bout with diverticulitis.

Ventura spoke to Cooper early Saturday and said the coach went from feeling OK to not good by the time he had reached the airport. The White Sox are hopeful Cooper can rejoin them when the team returns home on Friday.

“I don’t know if he’s feeling that much better,” Ventura said. “But he’s glad to be out of the hospital. He’s in some pain and not feeling too good.”

Konerko at DH

Konerko started at designated hitter for a second straight game and Dunn is at first. Ventura said Konerko has said it has been easier for him to stay loose when he’s warm, something he finds easier from the dugout and clubhouse.

“He mentioned it earlier in Chicago,” Ventura said. “Staying warm, staying loose. He gets out there and doesn’t have time to stay loose because he’s out there and getting stiff. He's out there, there’s not time to stretch if he leads off inning.”