Robin Ventura overjoyed with White Sox’ effort in first intrasquad game

SHARE Robin Ventura overjoyed with White Sox’ effort in first intrasquad game

GLENDALE, Ariz. — So how does this work? If a team is a reflection of its manager, and the White Sox’ field boss is as California laid-back as they come, what’s with the no-nonsense attitude in camp?

Robin Ventura’s team was full of energy in its first intrasquad game at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday. Not that the October-like intensity was visible through the fenced-in “dugouts” on the back field where the “Shirts” defeated the “Skins” 6-4, but the Sox “brought it” to work in ways Ventura likes to see.

“It was fun. It was good energy,’’ he said. “Guys had great at-bats. There was a lot of action. It’s just good to see them out there playing as well as some action, good plays, guys running all over the place.’’

Guys like second baseman Micah Johnson, who went 3-for-4 with three runs and two stolen bases, will make you look alive. When Conor Gillaspie is legging out two triples, you’re going to look turbocharged.

“Sometimes you can go out there and have an intrasquad game and it might not have the energy you want. This one had plenty of it,’’ Ventura said.

Jeff Samardzija, who pitched the first two innings, has observed Ventura’s influence in his first Sox camp after seven years with the Cubs. Samardzija said it’s pretty simple: Players play hard when they respect the boss.

“That’s all manager-based. It says a lot about Robin,’’ Samardzija said when asked to compare the vibe in this camp to the Cubs. “Just the emotions and attitudes we have here in camp. Everybody coming in to get their work in and working hard and efficient is always important. When you respect your coaching staff, you understand the best way to show that is do your job as a professional on the field.

“When that respect isn’t there, you sometimes see teams get lackadaisical and not be as efficient and having to repeat things. You don’t see that here. You see guys really getting after it and getting their work in, and that’s a tip of the cap to Robin saying, ‘We know you know how to do it the right way, and we’re going to show you we know how to do it too.’ ’’

Samardzija, who played for Lou Piniella, Mike Quade, Dale Sveum and Rick Renteria in his seven seasons as a Cub, said Ventura is his type of manager.

“When it’s business, it’s business, and when it’s not, we don’t need to talk about business,’’ Samardzija said. “Robin is great with relationships and personalities, and as a manager that’s so important to know your guys and what makes them tick, what makes them happy and what gets you angry. That’s what he’s all about and he understands you win those games on the field.”

One of the highlights on the field was the big day for the speedy Johnson, who is in a battle to win the Opening Day job at second base.

“He gives you a dimension that would really add to our team,’’ assistant coach Buddy Bell said, “and he has leadership qualities [for a young player]. So it’s not like you’re putting someone out there who doesn’t have any guts.’’

Outfield prospect Trayce Thompson had two hits, including an opposite field home run.

The Sox open Cactus League play Wednesday against the Dodgers. Jose Quintana will start for the Sox against lefty Erik Bedard.

The Sox’ starting lineup: CF Adam Eaton; LF Melky Cabrera; 1B Jose Abreu; DH Adam LaRoche; RF Avisail Garcia; SS Alexei Ramirez; 3B Gordon Beckham; C Tyler Flowers; 2B Carlos Sanchez.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan

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