<
>

Ventura's lineup ideas are guarded

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Spring training games are just five days away, which means Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura can start to experiment with lineups.

Ventura has yet to talk about a preferred lineup for the season, only offering hints like the one this winter, when he said he would consider using Alex Rios in the No. 3 spot of the order while possibly moving Adam Dunn to the No. 5 spot.

As for whether he prefers newcomer Jeff Keppinger in the No. 2 spot or would put the contact hitter lower in the order to help with low on-base percentage there, that remains to be seen.

On Monday Ventura was asked if he would keep Alexei Ramirez in the bottom part of the order. Ramirez spent most of his time in the No. 8 spot in the order last season, batting there 65 times. Next were his 49 games in the No. 7 spot followed by 26 games in the No. 6 spot and 14 games batting second.

“As of now, yeah, (Ramirez will stay put),” Ventura said. “In spring training we’ll throw some guys out there. I think this is really where you’ll move it around. (Ramirez) might hit at the top just to get him more at-bats.”

At the end of last season, Ramirez was expressing disappointment in his 2012 production. He batted a career low .265 last season, with a slugging percentage (.364) and an on-base percentage (.287) that were also career lows.

Fit and energized for the upcoming season, Ramirez expects things to be different this time around.

“I felt I reinforced every aspect of hitting (during the winter) but nothing specific,” Ramirez said through a team interpreter. “I know there’s room for improvement in different areas. I’m just going to continue to do my routine and reinforce all the stuff I’ve been working on. I feel this is going to be a good year.”