Ventura talks '13 hopes, '12 failures

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Just because Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura is heading into his second season and feels more comfortable with his surroundings doesn’t mean he’s the best source when it comes to advice.

“A guy like Walt Weiss this year, I can’t give him any advice that would solve everything,” Ventura said about the new Colorado Rockies manager, who is going into his new job this season without any previous manager experience, just like Ventura did last year.

“I realize he would be fine but any advice I would be giving wouldn’t have helped just because there are certain things that happen during a season that you can’t account for.”

Putting together a roster this year could come easier, but not necessarily because Ventura has done it once before. There already appeared to be a clear-cut 25-man roster available even before the first workout began.

“You seem to think so, but until you see everybody out there and how it goes, you would like to think it’s just clear cut and nothing will change,” Ventura said. “But you just never know when you come to spring training.”

One potential question mark is the health status of starting pitcher John Danks, who believes he will be ready to start the season on time after shoulder surgery over the summer.

“He looks great,” Ventura said. “As far as getting him cleared medically and all the things he’s been doing, he looks great. There are great reports on him. But it’s one of those things where being here this early and getting ready for the season, you want to have patience with him and hold him back a little bit.

“I think for him, even in talking to him, he’s ready to go and I think that’s part of working as hard as he has been working throughout the season to get a lot of throwing in and feel strong, that you almost want to hold him back when he gets here just to make sure he’s healthy at the start of the season.”

For now, Ventura is saying he is not ready to name an Opening Day starter and claims he hasn’t worked out various lineup options.

What is clear is that the American League Central will be a much greater challenge than it was last season with significant additions made by the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals.

“You also have the team that went to the World Series from our division in our league,” Ventura said. “It doesn’t get easy, I know that.”

An alternative way to look at it, though, is that an improved division would make it harder for the division-favorite Tigers to run away with things.

“You look at what the Indians have done adding guys and Kansas City, you would think that would make them better,” Ventura said.

Ultimately, the goal for Ventura would be to finish strong and avoid the disappointment of the late-season slide that everybody appeared helpless to stop.

“I think that’s part of sports,” Ventura said. “That’s what makes it frustrating, exhilarating and all those things in between. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen, but that’s the way it goes. You get to that point where you’re trying to do a lot of different things and it doesn’t work, but in the end for me the effort was there. It just didn’t happen.”