Ventura is happy, comfortable heading into second season


Ventura is happy, comfortable heading into second season

With the uncertainty of his first season out of the way, White Sox manager Robin Ventura made it clear Wednesday hes excited to return.

Ventura admits he needed to feel out his new position in 2012 after he took over for long-time skipper Ozzie Guillen. As Ventura waded his way through the season, speculation arose he might not be interested in managing long term. But Ventura, who spoke during a Wednesday morning visit to the Gilda Club, a free cancer support community for men, women and children, said he is ready to get his second season underway.

White Sox pitchers and catchers will report to the teams Glendale, Ariz. facility and hold their first workout on Feb. 12.

Im excited to do what I do, said Ventura, who finished third in the American League manager of the year vote in 2012. I love it. Last year there was a little bit of the unknown that went into it. This year I know what it is, I know who Im working for. I love where Im at and Im excited. I like the team we have. Im ready to get to spring training.

A first time anything when it came to the coaching staff, Ventura had plenty to learn last season. The former third basemans experience outside the announcers booth was restricted to one season as a minor-league instructor, which meant Ventura had to start from the beginning after he was a surprise hire in November 2011. With all those introductions out of the way, its not a surprise Ventura feels much more comfortable this time around.

Its a different feeling for me, Ventura said. Last year was more of meeting everybody and making sure plans were put in order for spring training. Im more confident for that stuff now. I didnt know that I liked it last year because I hadnt done it yet. But yeah, I enjoy what Im doing, and again, I like where Im at as far as who Im working for. Im lucky to have a great staff. Thats very important. When you like who you are working with, it makes your job easier.

Four top prospects among 19 players invited to White Sox big league camp

Four top prospects among 19 players invited to White Sox big league camp

Four of the team's top-10 prospects and a former All-Star are among the 19 nonroster invitees to White Sox big league camp this spring.

The team announced Monday that prospects Michael Kopech, Zack Collins, Zack Burdi and Spencer Adams have all been invited to camp next month. Everth Cabrera, an All-Star in 2013 for the San Diego Padres, Cody Asche, Cory Luebke and Geovany Soto are among the eight minor league free agents who also received an invitation. Pitchers and catchers report to camp in Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 14 while the team holds its first full-squad workout on Feb. 18.

Kopech was acquired in the Chris Sale trade in December while Collins and Burdi were both selected in the 2016 amateur draft. Adams was drafted in 2014.

Signed earlier this month, Soto is expected to earn a spot on the 25-man roster. Soto, who played for the White Sox in 2015, finished last season with four home runs and an .809 OPS in 86 plate appearances for the Los Angeles Angels.

Cabrera, who produced 4.6 Wins Above Replacement between 2012-13, hasn't played in the majors since he appeared in 29 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. Luebke, who has twice had reconstructive elbow surgery, finished with a 9.35 ERA in nine games for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. Asche blasted 31 homers with a .240/.298/.385 slash line in 1,287 plate appearances since 2013 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Other minor league free agents include: left-handed pitcher David Holmberg, right-handers Blake Smith and Anthony Swarzak, and catcher Roberto Pena.

White Sox minor leaguer pitchers Aaron Bummer, Brian Clark, Jace Fry and Matt Purke, infielders Nicky Delmonico and Danny Hayes, and outfielder Courtney Hawkins also have been invited to camp.

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