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Robin Ventura stresses importance of health as spring training winds down

White Sox manager thinks his club will be just fine as says the camaraderie of players is an asset

GLENDALE, Ariz. — When it comes to confidence, White Sox manager Robin Ventura wants his team to take its cue from glass-half-full advocate Jeff Samardzija as the regular season approaches.

Samardzija, the designated opening day starter, has been rocked for seven home runs in his last two outings, yet he does not appear to be the least bit concerned.

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"He suffers from over-confidence, which is good," Ventura said of Samardzija on Saturday. "He is right where he needs to be. He's going to be fine."

Ventura also hopes the Sox can overcome nagging spring training injuries to the likes of pitchers David Robertson and Jake Petricka.

"Health is the first thing … we need to get healthy first," Ventura said Saturday before his team lost 10-4 to the A's at Camelback Ranch. "We want guys leaving here feeling ready to go."

Catcher Tyler Flowers says he wants to make the most of the remaining days of exhibitions.

"You solidify the fundamentals and get that unity going with the silly plays … the bunt plays and infield (practice)," he said. "It's a good time to build the team being together and have everyone mesh and start pulling for each other and really set the foundation for those relationships in the regular season."

Ventura believes the esprit de corps displayed by his entire roster portends well.

"I like the way they interact, as far as pushing each other on the field, either encouragement or getting on each other for the way we're playing or the way things are going," he said. "They do a very good job of pushing each other's buttons. I like that part."

Up the middle: Former Sox infielder Marcus Semien faced his old team Saturday. He was traded to the A's on Dec. 9 as part of the Samardzija deal.

"This is nice. I think I had an opportunity in Chicago, as well, but this is a new team, new place, different group," said Semien, who grew up in Berkeley, Calif., and attended the University of California. "I am trying to take advantage of whatever they have me doing

"For my family, especially, a lot of them have not seen me play since college or high school. So they are very excited about (the trade) and I am excited."

Semien's close friend, Micah Johnson, has a shot at the starting second base job with the Sox.

"Yeah, I've been checking him out," Semien said. "Looks like he has been doing great. Everybody is saying he's doing great … excited for him. He's one of my best friends in that organization. I'm really pulling for all those guys, but especially a guy like Micah."

Roster moves: Before Saturday's game, the Sox announced right-hander Daniel Webb has been optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. They also sent left-handed pitcher Zach Miller to minor-league camp.

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