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There were no champagne corks popping or raucous celebrations going on in the White Sox clubhouse following Robin Ventura’s first win as a manager on Thursday in Surprise. But the 6-3 victory for the South Siders still had plenty of highlights, as the White Sox improved to 1-3 in Cactus League action.
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn. And … . Oh, yes, Adam Dunn.
It was just the fourth game of 2012 for the White Sox and it was Cactus League play in Arizona, after all, where the statistics don’t make their way to the back of baseball cards. But the big slugger still looks locked in at the plate in a way he never did during all of the 2011 season.
“The at-bats are more important for me looking at it,” said Ventura of Dunn, who homered on a 1-2 pitch from Neftali Feliz in the first and doubled home another run in the third. “I see his at-bats, his approach when he does it, instead of if he gets a hit. That’s all I’m really looking for right now, him having quality at-bats up there. He’s in a great spot.”
Gordon Beckham also went deep in the fourth, while Brent Morel’s two hits leave him at 5-for-8 over the first four games.
And let’s not forget about Hector Santiago, who is getting extremely close to locking up the fifth spot in the White Sox bullpen. Santiago started on Thursday and held scoreless over two innings a Texas lineup featuring Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, Mike Napoli and Elvis Andrus. Santiago struck out Cruz and Hamilton.
“I just worry about the next time to go out there. I try to do the same thing every time,” said Santiago, refusing to handicap his roster status. “I just tried to go out there and not worry about who is in the box and just hit (Tyler) Flowers right in the mitt. That’s all I was trying to do.”
WHAT WENT WRONG: Gregory Infante possesses Major League stuff, but simply has trouble getting it over the plate at times. He walked three over 1 2/3 innings on Thursday.
The biggest trouble spot was the first real injury of camp suffered by Minor League prospect Brandon Short. He dislocated his left shoulder going for a Luis Martinez double in the eighth, running into the center field wall on the attempt. Short was to have a MRI done on the injured area.
WHAT’S NEXT: It’s the first of eight meetings this season between the Cubs and the White Sox, with first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. CT Friday at Camelback Ranch. Chris Sale makes his long-awaited debut as part of the starting rotation, not counting his intrasquad appearance. The two teams hook up again on March 18 in Mesa, before meeting six times during regular-season Interleague action.
MOMENT TO REMEMBER: The handshakes on the field at Surprise Stadium after Anthony Carter, who had good velocity on his pitches in earning the save, retired Martinez on a ground ball double play to end Ventura’s first victory. Ventura also offered up this on-the-mark postgame quote.
“It’s good to get wins just for the psyche of guys walking on the field, shaking hands,” Ventura said. “But you know, most of the guys that you want to see do it are already driving home. It’s good for the young guys to kind of finish it off and do that, but I’m concerned about those first five innings a little more than the end right now.”
MOMENT TO FORGET: Short’s injury. Otherwise, the White Sox had a pretty solid afternoon of baseball.