GLENDALE, Ariz. -- On the last day of his first Spring Training at the helm of the White Sox, manager Robin Ventura looked back with satisfaction at the work his club accomplished over the past six weeks at Camelback Ranch.
"It was fun -- it's busy, there's a lot of work to it," Ventura said. "Where you start and the way guys come in, they're getting to know me, I'm getting to know them. They've done everything we've asked of them. Most importantly nobody's seeing [head athletic trainer] Herm [Schneider] a lot. That's the most important part. You see guys trying to find their swing and get into that and just be ready for the season. I'm happy with it."
The White Sox accomplished some important work, including getting starters Adam Dunn, Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios back on track after disappointing seasons in 2011.
"For me, it was more mental than physical and the ability," Ventura said of the trio. "The ability is there. Every season's different, so to see the way they were motivated when they came in was important. I'm happy that they've been able to keep that going."
One of the surprises of the spring was the emergence of rookie reliever Nate Jones, who is set to make his big league debut after being named to the Opening Day roster. Jones has a highly touted curveball and has been clocked in the upper 90s on his fastball.
"You see a guy like Nate Jones who has come through, who didn't necessarily have a spot when you visualize it, and all of a sudden you go through Spring Training and see how he has progressed and done things," Ventura said. "Those are the good surprises."
With the team set to play a pair of exhibition games in Houston before opening the season on the road against the Rangers, Ventura was as eager as his players for the arrival of Friday's first tilt.
"Everybody's really ready to get out of here and get going," Ventura said. "When we play games that don't mean something for so long, guys are pretty happy to be getting out of here today and getting closer to when everything counts."