Ventura's message to White Sox players will be positive

Ventura's message to White Sox players will be positive
February 14, 2014, 8:30 am
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Robin Ventura expects the message to his players on Saturday and again next week to carry the same upbeat tone as always.

As the White Sox open spring training Saturday, their third-year manager doesn't plan to spend too much time rehashing the numerous mistakes and maladies that contributed to last season's 99-loss campaign. The organization has a fresh start after enduring the fourth-worst season in the franchise's 113 years and while the team's camp may include some minor procedural changes, Ventura has no designs to destroy morale in his first address.

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White Sox pitchers and catchers report to the team's Camelback Ranch facility on Saturday and will hold their first workout. The team's position players report Thursday.

"You don't want to go in there and limit them as far as where their mind's at and what they're going to do," Ventura said at SoxFest last month. "You don't also want to go in and limit somebody individually on what they can do. You're going to give them that ability. Spring training is not a time to squash anybody's feelings. It'll be a positive spin."

Encouraging signs were so rare in 2013 that, months later, chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said he wished he was just having a bad dream.

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The offense failed to score 600 runs for the first full season since 1980, which cost hitting coach Jeff Manto his job. The defense nearly doubled its error total from a major league-low 70 in 2012 to 121 last season. And an obscene amount of mistakes on the base paths added to everyone's frustration as well.

But courtesy of general manager Rick Hahn's makeover the White Sox are well removed from 2013 from a personnel standpoint. New fresh faces are everywhere and longtime Oakland A's and St. Louis Cardinals' coach Todd Steverson has replaced Manto.

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While Ventura will make a few tweaks to the way the team runs camp he promises it won't be too drastic.

"There will be things that are a little different, but I'm not going to have them coming out at 6 o'clock and running four-minute miles," Ventura said. "There will be some different things."