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updated: 1/28/2012 9:15 PM

Ventura to stress return to basics

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In his eight seasons as manager, Ozzie Guillen constantly stressed sound, fundamental baseball.

The White Sox responded from time to time, but they generally struggled in the department.

Last season was a prime example.

The Sox never seemed to move runners over, hit the ball the opposite way, shut down the opposing team's running game or hit the cutoff man.

Now, its new manager Robin Ventura's turn to take a crack at getting the White Sox up to speed in the basics of the game.

"Fundamentals are important in games," Ventura said at SoxFest. "I feel I played that way. If you don't do fundamentals, you're going to let a lot of games slip away and put pressure on your pitchers. If we don't (play fundamentally sound), it's a bad reflection on me, Kenny (Williams) and the organization."

Ventura has already asked his hand-picked coaches, Mark Parent (bench) Joe McEwing (third base) and Jeff Manto (hitting), to him with the small stuff.

"I was told once, never be the smartest guy in the room," Ventura said. "I totally trust them."

Staff sergeant:

Don Cooper is returning for his 11th full season as White Sox pitching coach, and he already likes the way the staff is shaping up.

At SoxFest on Saturday, Cooper confirmed John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, Chris Sale and Phil Humber are the starting five.

Cooper said Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain, Will Ohman and Addison Reed are locks in the bullpen, which leaves three open spots.

As spring training draws near, Cooper said Zack Stewart, Dylan Axelrod, Hector Santiago and Eric Stults are the leading contenders to win relief jobs.

"My first job is to get our starters ready and the four other guys we know are in the bullpen," Cooper said. "And then to assess and give all the other guys opportunities to see who's going to jump up and say, 'I need to get on the plane.'"

Stats geek?

Manager Robin Ventura, an old-school baseball type, was asked for his thoughts on sabermetrics Saturday.

"I'm in the middle," Ventura said. "You go with your gut and what your eyes see. (Sabermetrics) tell a story, but not the whole story. We get that information and we'll go over it based on the numbers and trends."

Not buying:

Adam Dunn bristled when asked if last season's failure is going to make him a better hitter this year.

"I don't buy into the, 'You need to fail,'" Dunn said. "All that stuff. Like when everyone said the Packers needed to lose a game to go into the (NFL) playoffs. Why? You want to win them all.

"I want to be as good as I can every single year for 20 years or for however long I play. Hopefully I'm going in this year feeling as good as I've felt in a long time and just ready to get started and quit talking about it. Doesn't matter where you go, everyone is talking about it. I realize that comes with that, but I really can't wait for Opening Day."

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