GLENDALE, Ariz. — With so many new faces in camp, Robin Ventura emphasized exactly what the White Sox want from their players before Tuesday’s workout.
The manager and his coaching staff held a lengthy meeting before the team hit the field at Camelback Ranch to participate in its first full-squad workout. Ventura has said several times he wants his club to be on the same page early in the season and that they would put in enough work to ensure that happened. The White Sox, who have nine new players on their 40-man roster, then practiced in excess of three hours.
“It's about the team, what we expect, what I expect from them,” Ventura said of the meeting. “They should expect it from themselves. There should be a standard that we have, and they should be able to enforce that themselves as well. We'll be there to do it, but we've set our own standard with how they should be playing every day.”
The White Sox would need to produce a much crisper brand of baseball if they hope to snap their losing seasons streak at three. Not only did the 2015 offense lead the league in inducing boredom, the club’s base running was bad and its defense was downright atrocious.
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With three quarters of a new infield and a new catching combination in place, Ventura has a chance to start fresh. He took advantage of the opportunity to make sure the team’s newest players have a sense for guidelines.
“It was sloppy for me,” Ventura said. “It's not always easy to watch. Now you bring new guys in, you want them to understand the level that we want to play at. When it doesn't go well, that's what it looks like.”
White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu likes the feel of the new roster. He said he agreed with the sentiments of Todd Frazier, who thinks the White Sox have the potential to be a special team.
“I have the same feeling,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “From the first day that I came here and I met (Rick) Renteria and Frazier, that’s the feeling. Today, the first practice, everybody was happy and was laughing and making jokes. That’s the kind of atmosphere that we need here. We need to feel the chemistry and be like a family. That’s something we need to build from here.”
Though the first work out lasted into the early afternoon, Ventura said he thought it was necessary to cover everything. Even with a clubhouse full of professionals, it’s clear Ventura wanted to bring a business-like tone to the first day of camp.
“It was a long one, but it's just stuff you need to go over,” Ventura said. “In talking to them before we went out, getting everything done, sometimes these days take a little bit longer.
“We got everything in today that we needed to get in. I think that's the main part. Everybody's fine with it. We're getting through what we need to get through.”
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— Outfielders Avisail Garcia and Adam Engel arrived at camp on Tuesday, meaning everyone arrived on time. Asked if he thinks the White Sox still have confidence in him, Garcia said: “Yeah, for sure. They believe in me, and I believe in me too. I’ve been working really hard. I know I have a lot of talent, and I just have to keep working and believe what I’m doing and trust myself.”
— Ventura was asked if the addition of so many new personalities was a gamble. “I think if you’re just getting a personality. But I believe we got personalities that can play. So that's not really a gamble.”