04/02/12 6:45 PM ET
Ventura remains coy about naming closer
By Owen Perkins / Special to MLB.com
"Hopefully, when we're winning in the ninth in the first game," Ventura said in response to a question about when he will reveal his closer. "I will know, and [the team] will know, but I just don't feel the need to tell everybody and make a statement about it."
Though he remained coy about whether there was an advantage to holding back the information, saying, "Maybe, maybe not," one possible advantage to avoiding an announcement would be to keep the pressure off a potential young closer like 24-year-old Hector Santiago (0.90 ERA, 10 innings this spring). The left-hander split his time between Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham last year and had a two-day callup in July, throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings over two appearances.
"I'm impressed," Ventura said of Santiago. "You hear things about certain guys and witness it. Not just his ability, but how he carries himself, his personality. He's been fun to watch.
"He's definitely a possibility. So is Addison [Reed, 2.70 ERA, 10 innings] and Matt [Thornton, 2.35 ERA, 13 1/3 innings] and Jesse [Crain, 3.60 ERA, five innings]. I feel good with the way our back end of the bullpen is."
Ventura admitted he did not know in his own mind yet, though he has a good idea and is relishing the luxury of having a variety of viable choices.
Dunn third in likely Opening Day lineup
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Manager Robin Ventura posted a lineup for Tuesday's exhibition game in Houston that offers a likely preview of his Opening Day lineup.
Tuesday's lineup features Alejandro De Aza leading off and playing center, followed by third baseman Brent Morel in the two-hole. Adam Dunn bats third as the DH in front of first baseman Paul Konerko and catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Right fielder Alex Rios bats sixth, with Alexei Ramirez playing short and batting seventh, followed by left fielder Dayan Viciedo and second baseman Gordon Beckham rounding out the order.
"It's not guaranteed to be the Opening Day one," Ventura said of the lineup. "That's one of the things that I've messed with throughout the spring, is putting guys in different spots."
"He gets on base a lot," Ventura said. "Even though he might strike out a little bit, he does walk a lot. To me that's a good thing right in front of Paul."
Ventura pleased at conclusion of first camp
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- On the last day of his first Spring Training at the helm of the White Sox, manager Robin Ventura looked back with satisfaction at the work his club accomplished over the past six weeks at Camelback Ranch.
"It was fun -- it's busy, there's a lot of work to it," Ventura said. "Where you start and the way guys come in, they're getting to know me, I'm getting to know them. They've done everything we've asked of them. Most importantly nobody's seeing [head athletic trainer] Herm [Schneider] a lot. That's the most important part. You see guys trying to find their swing and get into that and just be ready for the season. I'm happy with it."
The White Sox accomplished some important work, including getting starters Adam Dunn, Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios back on track after disappointing seasons in 2011.
"For me, it was more mental than physical and the ability," Ventura said of the trio. "The ability is there. Every season's different, so to see the way they were motivated when they came in was important. I'm happy that they've been able to keep that going."
One of the surprises of the spring was the emergence of rookie reliever Nate Jones, who is set to make his big league debut after being named to the Opening Day roster. Jones has a highly touted curveball and has been clocked in the upper 90s on his fastball.
"You see a guy like Nate Jones who has come through, who didn't necessarily have a spot when you visualize it, and all of a sudden you go through Spring Training and see how he has progressed and done things," Ventura said. "Those are the good surprises."
With the team set to play a pair of exhibition games in Houston before opening the season on the road against the Rangers, Ventura was as eager as his players for the arrival of Friday's first tilt.
"Everybody's really ready to get out of here and get going," Ventura said. "When we play games that don't mean something for so long, guys are pretty happy to be getting out of here today and getting closer to when everything counts."
Floyd ready to lasso adrenaline
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Gavin Floyd's four runs in 4 2/3 innings may not sound like the ideal way to close out the Cactus League, but the No. 3 arm in the White Sox rotation wasn't concerned about the results with the season set to open Friday.
"I feel real good," Floyd said. "Occasionally, today, I lost some curveball and fastball location, but I got it back, figured it out, made an adjustment and just got back to focusing on my mitt and relaxing."
Floyd threw about 80 pitches, yielding seven hits and two walks while striking out four. He left the game with a two-run lead, but the Brewers rallied for nine runs after he left to put a damper on Chicago's Cactus League finale. His ability to adjust, refocus, and relax after a rough inning bodes well for the adjustments he'll need to make as he moves from Camelback Ranch to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, where he'll pitch Sunday to close the three-game opening series.
"Everybody's adrenaline gets going [in a big league park]," Floyd said. "You get excitement. But you have to try to bottle that up, and try to be the same no matter what, whether it's a 'B' game or a simulated game. It's natural to get a little extra adrenaline. As a pitcher, when you get experienced, you try to calm yourself down and simplify things."
Floyd has experience, having posted a 58-55 record and a 4.50 career ERA in 165 games over eight seasons with the Phillies and White Sox, but he hasn't stopped trying to develop as a pitcher, expanding his arsenal over the course of the 2012 Cactus League season.
"I worked on my changeup, I worked on a cutter, I worked on using both sides of plate with all my pitches," Floyd said. "I'm trying to refine things, trying to get better as a pitcher. Things have been going real well."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.