2/20/2014 6:05 P.M. ET
White Sox anticipating breakout season from Avisail
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Paul Konerko was asked to name a few White Sox players he's looking forward to watching in 2014 during Thursday's interview session as part of his last first day of Spring Training. Konerko mentioned high-energy leadoff man Adam Eaton, talked about Gordon Beckham being in a good place and pointed out that Dayan Viciedo had what he considers a hiccup last season but should bounce back.
Konerko made his way to Avisail Garcia, the White Sox right fielder and acquisition at last season's non-waiver Trade Deadline. He hasn't received the publicity of free-agent addition Jose Abreu, but actually could be more of a complete talent package.
"I think a full year from Avi Garcia will be interesting because he can go any direction," Konerko said. "He can run, he can hit, he can hit with power. I know he's going to do well, I just want to see where that's going to go because he can be average and power.
"He can go out and hit .260 with 40 home runs. He really has the potential to be a monster in this league. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing him."
Having the chance to see Garcia for 42 games last season, when he hit .304 with five homers and 21 RBIs, gave the White Sox an idea of what to expect.
"Everyone talks about Jose, but you want [Garcia] to be part of the middle of your lineup, too," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He has the tools to be able to do that. Hopefully, he can go in that direction."
With logjam at first/DH, Dunn to get time in outfield
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In rookie Jose Abreu, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, the White Sox have three power-hitting talents for two everyday first base and designated hitter slots.
That crowded picture won't alter or affect preparation for Dunn, who could find himself part of a platoon in his 14th big league season and fourth with the White Sox in the finale of a four-year deal.
"No one's told me it's going to be a three-man dance, so I'm not looking at it like it's going to be like a rotation deal," said Dunn at Camelback Ranch on Thursday, when position players reported and the White Sox held their first full-squad workout. "I'm not stupid. I see you have a lot of guys that can play at this level. There's only two or three spots they can play in. Competition's good.
"I still feel the same way I did from Day 1 when I stepped on the field [with the White Sox]. I'm going to do everything I can to get ready for Opening Day, have a good year."
Manager Robin Ventura spoke Thursday about using Dunn in left field at some point during Cactus League action. That move gets Dunn a chance for extra at-bats and gives Ventura that in-season option with a little preparation behind it. Dunn has played 10 games in the outfield during his three years with the White Sox.
With 1,870 career regular-season games played and no postseason appearances, it's understandable how Dunn puts his highest and really only premium on reaching the playoffs. But much like Konerko, Dunn also would like to help mentor the White Sox youth movement by drawing on his own time as a young player.
"Everything happened so fast when [I was young]," Dunn said. "The only thing I take from that is how the older guys treated me coming up.
"Especially Abreu. Not speaking English, I can only imagine coming over to a new team and all those expectations, as comfortable as I can make him, and as comfortable as Paul can make him, we'll make sure he realizes he fits in and don't try to do too much."
Third to first
• Ventura didn't take long in delivering his managerial message to the full squad Thursday prior to the first workout.
"It was quick. But it was more about being ready, getting your mind ready," Ventura said. "It's a long season. And if you don't have your mind made up going in that you're preparing for a season in the right frame of mind as an organization and team, you're going in the wrong direction. So, when you're doing drills, you have to make sure your mind is ready and you're doing the right things to get better."
• The ultimate 2014 White Sox hope is a turnaround akin to the 2013 Red Sox, moving from worst to World Series champions. Konerko takes a bigger picture view in his season outlook.
"I'm not going to draw a straight line like everybody is doing to the Red Sox," Konerko said. "I'm not going to go like that, but you see a lot of turnarounds every year and I hope when this one happens with the guys in there, position player-wise, they run it out for a while.
"And that will make me happy. Four years from now, if this team is a good team year in and year out for that nice four to six year run before guys start leaving in free agency and getting older and all that stuff, to know I had a hand in that to help some of these guys along will make me feel good when I'm playing golf somewhere."
• Dunn has changed his jersey number from 32 back to 44, which he wore for much of his athletic career prior to the White Sox. The switch was made possible by the departure of Jake Peavy to Boston via trade last July.
"I let him borrow that for a few years. I did. Flat out. It's true," said Dunn of the previous owner of 44. "It is my number, a lot longer than his, mind you.
"I've had that number a long time. People are going to think it's because of Jake and this and that. It makes for a good story, but if they want the real truth I can tell them."
• Ventura talked about having an intrasquad game on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
• Everyone was in camp Thursday but reliever Ronald Belisario. Everyone reported as healthy, aside from reliever Nate Jones, who played catch in his return from a moderate left glute strain that has sidelined him since the start of camp.
• During one live batting-practice session Thursday, Konerko finished with a line shot the opposite way to right. His teammates applauded, Konerko tipped his helmet and pitching coach Don Cooper yelled out, "Triple" from his golf cart.