Ventura content to ‘mix and match’
CHICAGO – With an offense that is still trying to get on track, the White Sox’s flexible roster has given manager Robin Ventura plenty of lineup options.
But Ventura hopes one or two players can find a rhythm at the plate so he can create a consistent lineup.
“You just mix and match and if one of them gets hot you probably run with it,” Ventura said. “It’s like with Gordon [Beckham] out, you mix and match and you have the ability to do that unless somebody forces you not to.”
Blake Tekotte started his first game since getting called up after Dayan Viciedo landed on the disabled list with an oblique strain. The center fielder went 0 for 2 with two strikeouts and a walk in Wednesday’s 3-2 win against the Indians. Ventura said he wanted Tekotte to get game experience, though Jordan Danks and Dewayne Wise remain the primary outfield options while Viciedo is sidelined.
Ventura also praised third baseman Conor Gillaspie’s performance since Beckham’s wrist surgery led to Jeff Keppinger moving to second base. He didn’t rule out Gillaspie, who is hitting .304, logging time at first base once Beckham returns.
“From the outside, not having a left-handed hitter somewhere in the middle breaking up the lineup looked like a weakness,” Ventura said. “He’s shown he has the ability to do that. He definitely has earned more time somewhere out there whether it’s third or first.”
Axelrod impresses: Dylan Axelrod can thank pitcher John Danks for his chance to impress the Sox.
Axelrod, armed with an 89 mph fastball, has made the most of his opportunity in the Sox’s rotation as Danks continues to rehab from shoulder surgery. Although Axelrod is still searching for his first win, he has posted two consecutive six-inning outings while holding the opposition to two runs or fewer.
“When a lefty is throwing the way he is, he’s crafty and knows how to pitch, where a righty does it people don’t know why or how,” Ventura said. “But he has the ability to make guys miss. That’s not easy to do especially with him working off counts and hitters’ aggressiveness.”
Dunn tries to find groove: In the Sox’s 20th game of the season, slugger Adam Dunn finally recorded his first multi-walk game.
Dunn’s three walks Wednesday matched his season total entering the game, though he struck out in his other at-bat. However, Dunn is batting .100, which is the second-lowest average among qualified hitters in the majors. Only Minnesota rookie Aaron Hicks (.073) has a worse average. Of Dunn’s seven hits in 70 at-bats, three are home runs.
“He wants to get hits,” Ventura said. “I think the mixture of that is what you’re looking for. Walks are good, but he’s also here to hit some homers.”