After a successful 3-2 road trip to open the season and two hours before the White Sox took the field for their first game at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday afternoon, general manager Kenny Williams fielded a variety of questions from the media.
Williams can be loquacious at times, and the Sox' GM had plenty of opinions before the home opener. Here are the highlights:
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Q: Is it too early to get excited about the start of the season?
A: I like the fight. We committed early on in spring training to a kind of grind it out mentality, whether it be from the offensive side or the defensive work they put in.
We've got a number of strikeouts; we've got more strikeouts than I care for right now. But there's a way to go about it and many of them have come with 8-, 9-pitch at-bats where you wear down a pitcher.
Those are positive signs in terms of team baseball and ultimately playing winning baseball. There are a lot of positives I see, but there's obviously a long way to go."
Q: What are your early impressions of new manager Robin Ventura?
A: I take it back to SoxFest and the leadership qualities that I knew were evident, we all knew were evident. But the way he's translated them into his communication with the players, the way his coaching staff has blended together, it's a very positive environment.
It's a humble environment, it's a positive environment, but one of confidence and one of … I wouldn't be surprised if someone wore a hard hat out of here instead of baseball cap, just fooling around, because it's that kind of mentality."
Q: Speaking of managers, do you have any "compassion" for ex-skipper Ozzie Guillen, who is serving a five-game suspension?
A: My standard answer is no comment, and I'd rather talk about focus of this ballclub and what's happening with this ballclub compared to anything else.
But you used the word compassion and I cannot help but have a little bit for somebody that has meant so much to the organization and meant so much to me personally over the years.
So I guess is the answer to that question is, yeah, I do have some compassion for what's going on. But our focus is right here and I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment beyond that.
Q: What is your confidence level in Adam Dunn (before he was 0-for-4 with 4 strikeouts Friday)?
A: I think Adam Dunn showed up to spring training renewed, because it was obvious he had done a lot of work this off-season, and he showed up with a renewed commitment to his craft and a confidence that he just wiped it away.
You saw it from Day One. Anybody who was down there consistently saw it on a day-to-day basis. And then you put in the work that some of these guys have put in before and after practice and the studying they have put in, combined with guys like (hitting coach) Jeff Manto and (bench coach) Mark Parent and Robin.
Sometimes, and it's no one's fault. Sometimes a different voice will help trigger a little something different in a guy."
Q: Can you assess the young talent on the 25-man roster and down on the farm?
A: We've been steady over the last number of years bringing guys into our situation and being competitive, and they've been young players. We don't promote ourselves well enough, I think, on the minor-league front, and that's my responsibility.
I'm just not as reticent to spout off about our minor-league players and promote them in that fashion. Our focus is here. Let them develop without fanfare and very quietly.
Other teams recognize it and know. And they certainly know when they see Nate Jones or Hector Santiago or Chris Sale or the other names we brought in.