2/27/2014 6:39 P.M. ET
Dunn to witness Hollywood's biggest spectacle
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- "And the Oscar trip from Glendale, Ariz., to Los Angeles, Calif., goes to ... Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox."
The White Sox designated hitter made that piece of news official on Thursday, after finding out his weekend playing schedule in Cactus League action and once again receiving the full blessing from the organization and his teammates. Manager Robin Ventura basically told Dunn that he was going, not allowing him to miss a possible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but with two conditions.
Ventura doesn't want to see him on Monday, the day after Sunday night's celebrations. And if Dallas Buyers Club wins for Best Picture, Dunn and his tuxedo have to be on stage as part of the group accepting.
"He's a great teammate. He came in and talked it over and he wanted to make sure everybody was all right with it, but I think he should go," Ventura said. "It's probably once in a lifetime.
"I don't know if his career is going to take off after Neddie Jay. But it's a cool thing. I think he should go do it, and guys are happy for him. Everybody's probably going to watch it to see if they can spot him. Hopefully, he wins. Everybody's happy for him to go and do something fun like that."
Dunn is an investor in his friend Joe Newcomb's company, which produced Dallas Buyers Club, the movie that ended up with six Oscar nominations, including one of the nine Best Picture nominees, Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Jared Leto for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Dunn also had a small part referenced by Ventura as bartender Neddie Jay, and has joked about being overlooked in the 2014 Academy Awards.
Ventura's present plan is to have Dunn in the lineup Saturday and then at least work out on Sunday before leaving. Dunn appreciates Ventura and general manager Rick Hahn giving him the encouragement face to face, as he would have stayed behind with any hint of an issue.
"I said earlier, I'm not here to go to the Oscars," Dunn said. "I'm here to get ready for Opening Day, and if I was playing [Friday] and playing Sunday and all that stuff and the schedule didn't line up, then I wouldn't have gone.
"No, it will be cool. It will be a lot of fun, and just I don't really know a whole lot about it. I know people have parties for this kind of thing, so it must be pretty cool."
White Sox look to maximize use of Draft funds
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, outfielder Keenyn Walker was the White Sox first selection at No. 47 overall.
During the 2014 Draft, the White Sox have two picks prior to that No. 47 selection. They put quite a bit of time and energy into the Walker pick, so it only makes sense that their No. 3 and No. 44 overall picks this year receive even more of a commitment.
"We are now going to have two guys who conceivably are equal or better talent than what we could get at that position a few years ago. We take it very seriously," general manager Rick Hahn said. "We are going to spend somewhere around $10 million on this Draft.
"So, obviously, you want to make sure you are seeing the right guys. You want to make sure you are using that pool, allocating and deploying it to the best of our ability to get as many impact guys as we can."
This year's Draft preparation actually began just a few days after the 2013 Draft, which received high marks, with players such as Tim Anderson, Tyler Danish, Jacob May and Trey Michalczewski. The White Sox also picked up right-handed hurler Brad Goldberg in the 10th round, and as Hahn mentioned, there's already some buzz about him going around.
It's standard operating procedure for the White Sox to have scouts across the country researching amateur talent, including the Florida St./Yankees exhibition game earlier this week. Hahn was in Surprise this past weekend studying quality players at tournaments.
That research from Hahn, executive vice president Ken Williams, assistant general manager Buddy Bell and director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann becomes even more important with the money expected to be allocated.
"You kind of need to put the top three or four guys in order and then go from there for the first pick," Hahn said. "But this is an important Draft because of not only the high first-round pick, but the magnitude of the pool that perhaps allows you to do things later in the Draft if guys slip, as well as the ability to pick at the top of each round. It minimizes your chances for getting cherry-picked.
"Until you get extremely deep in the Draft and you are more worried about depth, we are always trying to find guys who have that upside you can potentially tap into and turn into impact guys. None of the pre-depth picks are made without the expectations that we can [find] something in this guy and he can help us."
Sale matured through last season's adversity
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Sale has the top-notch statistics to prove he knows a thing or two about pitching. But the trying White Sox season in '13, as well as the third-worst run support in the Majors, taught the southpaw a little bit more about competing.
"You're talking about always pitching in close ballgames, having to deal with a little adversity, but at the same time I feel like I was becoming a better teammate because of that," said Sale, who will start Friday's Cactus League opener against the Dodgers. "If I went out there and got beat up for six or seven runs, something like that, I don't have to come in here and apologize to those guys because they know I was going out there and doing everything I could.
"Just on the flip side, if someone makes an error, drops a fly ball or does this and that, there were times people were coming up to me saying, 'Hey, we messed you up on that one.' I know you're doing everything you can for me out there, and it's all I can ask.
"Kind of the bottom line was I'm not going to come in here and get mad at someone for giving everything they've got and not getting the results because the results are what they are," Sale said. "If you put in the effort, you can't help the outcome."
Ventura maintains consistency through ups and downs
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A 99-loss season wore on manager Robin Ventura just as it did his players. But aside from dealing with some new player additions, Ventura hasn't changed his managerial style and didn't really change during the troubled times of '13.
"Nobody likes losing, and I'm no exception to that," Ventura said. "It does wear on you, but it's my job to kind of keep going, doing my job and making sure people are focused on the right things and approaching things the right way like this organization wants.
"That's part of my job, so I have to be able to put that part aside. Even though it's wearing on you, you still have to do your job, stand up in front of everybody, take your hit and keep going."
Chris Sale put the blame for last season squarely on the players and not their manager.
"As many nice things as everyone said about him in 2012, everyone was dogging him [last season]," Sale said. "He didn't throw one pitch. He didn't make one swing of the bat. He didn't make an error, nothing. It was hard for us to sit there and watch him take the flack for stuff we were doing."
Third to first
• White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper is going on the assumption that Saturday will be dry, despite the forecast calling for a 100 percent chance of rain per weather.com. If the game is canceled, Cooper hasn't decided yet whether scheduled starter John Danks will throw on the side or move to throwing in Sunday's game in Surprise against the Rangers.
• Infielder Jake Elmore was traded by the White Sox to the A's in exchange for cash considerations. Elmore, 26, was designated for assignment on Wednesday to make room for 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Maikel Cleto, who was with the team Thursday. Elmore was claimed off waivers from Houston on Nov. 13, 2013.
• Comcast SportsNet Chicago will celebrate the start of Spring Training by airing at 3 p.m. CT the 2013 World Baseball Classic first-round matchup between China and Cuba, which featured a dominant performance by new White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu. In that contest, Abreu went 2-for-4 with a double, a grand slam and five RBIs. The grand slam came in the fifth inning off of China's Yu Liu. Abreu hit .360 for Cuba, with three homers and nine RBIs over six games.
Friday also is the first day that individual tickets for all 2014 White Sox home games go on sale to the general public at whitesox.com.
• Ventura had a very short workout day for his players Thursday, sort of tapering for Friday's Cactus League opener.