Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Having seen enough, Ventura cracks the whip

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Jeff Keppinger fields a ground ball during the White Sox early workout Tuesday. AP

MINNEAPOLIS -- Robin Ventura and his coaching staff ran the White Sox through a 2 p.m. practice on Tuesday, five hours before the start of their game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

Under a hot sun and unseasonable 90-degree temperatures, infielders, outfielders, catchers and pitchers spent about 45 minutes working through the basics, which, Ventura said, apparently were not learned during spring training.

Monday's 10-3 loss was the final straw in a series of badly played baseball games. The Sox were charged with one error - their 29th that ranks them among baseball's leaders -- but made at least a half dozen mental mistakes in the field.

The Sox have been in the unusual habit of taking infield the first day of each series, but this was above and beyond. And it may not be the last early workout. General manager Rick Hahn, who is on the team's seven-game road trip, was there to observe.

"They have to realize what's important,'' Ventura said. "It can happen again. So, you keep working on it till you get it right. As far as getting after it, staying on it, you do it again.''

The curious thing about this Sox ongoing display of bad baseball is that they played clean defensive ball last season, Ventura's first as manager. It started this year during the first week, when a 4-2 start masked mistakes like fielders bumping into each other on fly balls and pop-ups.

Ventura said the workout was in part to get his team's attention.

"You get their attention and the things you consider unacceptable there's consequences to everything that goes on,'' he said, "but there is a responsibility to get it right, too. When it's sloppy you need to figure out ways to let them realize it can't go on. This is one way that it's done.

"It raises your awareness but you know, just making sure I'm doing what I need to do, too. I'm supposed to be quality control out of this and that's part of coming out here making sure everybody is doing it the way they're supposed to do it. It's not like covering your tracks, it's more you're trying to give them the right stuff because apparently spring training didn't do it.''

Monday's loss was riddled with everything from a dropped pop-up to infielders Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Greene mishandling throws in from the outfield, to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, to outfielders throwing to the wrong base.

"In the wrong position, things like that, it's unacceptable,'' Ventura said.
"There's one error in the scorebook but watching it there's too many to put up there.''

First baseman Adam Dunn said he was "100 percent'' on board with the workout.

"Obviously there's a need to do that especially the way we have got guys out of position on things you worked on the first day of spring training,'' Dunn said. "Somewhere down the line we got away from what we did really well last year. Today kind of put everybody back to doing the little things we needed to do and relearning. It was good.''

"I knew something was coming. I didn't know when and where but I think it was perfect timing and hopefully it kind of gets everybody's head where it needs to be and not just worrying about one side of the ball. When you're playing defense know where to go and what to do.

"We can go out there until you're blue in the face, but if it doesn't translate to the game what does that do? It doesn't do anything. It wastes time. Hopefully something like that sinks in because I promise you the coaches didn't want to be out there doing it but its something that had to be done and I wouldn't be surprised if we do it again.''

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This page contains a single entry by Daryl Van Schouwen published on May 14, 2013 6:13 PM.

Defense fails White Sox again in 10-3 loss to Twins was the previous entry in this blog.

White Sox defeat Twins 4-2 is the next entry in this blog.

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