White Sox notes: Sale, Rollins, Frazier, Ventura
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OAKLAND, Calif. — Manager Robin Ventura said Sunday his 2016 roster is “saltier,” and Chris Sale, who will make his third Opening Day start Monday night against fellow Cy Young candidate Sonny Gray, agrees.
“Yeah, we have some grit,’’ Sale said Sunday after the Sox worked out at Oakland Coliseum. “We have guys who aren’t afraid to play hard, show emotion and grind. That’s half the battle. When you have tough guys, that prevails.’’
Sale’s individual goals are short and sweet: Don’t miss a start and pitch 200 innings.
“Staying healthy, that’s not really a stat but it is the name of the game in this league,’’ he said.
Discussing Opening Day, Ventura, usually one of the least excitable guys in the room, said “exciting” or “excited” nine times during a five-minute media session in the visitors dugout.
The Sox were 76-86 last season but are confident their offseason additions will make them postseason contenders.
“We like where they are at and we are ready to go,” Ventura said.
“I like the vibe they have. I like the energy and the confidence they came out of spring training with.”
Homecoming for Rollins
Jimmy Rollins, 37, who won the Opening Day shortstop job after signing a minor league contract during spring training, grew up in Alameda, Calif., and was a huge fan of former Athletic Rickey Henderson. Rollins played down the significance of this homecoming all last week, though.
“Just another Opening Day,’’ he said Sunday. “Get past the home team’s excitement, go out there put up some runs.’’
Rollins said Henderson to this day is his favorite player.
“An entertainer, popping the collar, ran to left field, the way he would snatch the ball on a routine fly ball, the way he would steal and mess with the pitchers,” Rollins said Sunday. “Other times he wouldn’t steal, doing the walking lead and I couldn’t take my eyes off him and I liked that value. The field is full of baseball players when the game is going on but he brought that extra entertainment package.”
Out of town goes Frazier
This will be the first out-of-town opener for new Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, who played every other one in the Cincinnati Reds’ traditional opener at home.
“It’s like a new year, a feeling you can’t really explain,’’ Frazier said.
“You hear your named announced and it’s one of the coolest things in the world because you’re a starter in the biggest venue in baseball, you’re among the best of the best and when your name is out there it’s go time.”