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White Sox displaying attitude, intensity from the start

Newcomers bring early focus; Albers desires late-inning role @scottmerkin

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A noticeable difference already permeates Spring Training for the White Sox in comparison to last year's six-week stint in Arizona.

Let's call it dedication with a touch of fun.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A noticeable difference already permeates Spring Training for the White Sox in comparison to last year's six-week stint in Arizona.

Let's call it dedication with a touch of fun.

"The attitude coming in and the focus is a little different in the way that we were all disappointed in what happened last year," White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams said. "So the level of intensity, the level of seriousness, is not missing from this camp.

"What has kind of also filtered in is a little bit of light-heartedness with some of our recent additions. They have been through some of the wars and have a little bit of personality to them in the Fraziers and the Lawries, and Jimmy Rollins can add to that, too. There's a balance between intensity and having some fun, having enough fun to where your talent can come out."

Broadcasting legend, White Sox exec Einhorn passes away

White Sox manager Robin Ventura pointed to the infield having a little more veteran presence with the additions of Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie and Rollins, who reported to camp Thursday. The team, in general, has more of that self-starter, veteran feel, not overlooking the little things that can make a difference.

Tweet from @whitesox: .@AvisailGarcia hits the batting cages. ���� #SoxSpringTraining

"They like to compete, too," Ventura said. "You see it with Lawrie. They're hitting off pitchers, they're already into it. They're not just sticking their toe in the water and easing into it. They're going in all the way."

"We have used our resources as effectively as we could possibly use them," Williams said. "We just hope that it all translates into better baseball play."

Albers returns

An argument could be made that Matt Albers was the most consistent reliever within the 2015 White Sox bullpen. So bringing back the right-hander, who didn't pitch from April 19 to July 19 because of a broken pinkie finger sustained during an on-field brawl with the Royals, strengthens the team's late-inning forces.

"I definitely like pitching those games that are close," Albers said. "Coming in for the eighth inning and seventh inning and guys on base and kind of the game is on the line, that's more fun than the long relief where I started.

"We haven't really talked about it too much. But, hopefully, I'll be toward that back end and be in those games where we are getting us to win or keeping it close."

Albers enters Spring Training healthy, after coming off of a '14 season where he only pitched eight games for the Astros because of right rotator cuff tendinitis.

"Last year, I had to show I was healthy and effective to make the team," said Albers, who posted a miniscule 1.21 ERA over 30 games and 37 1/3 innings in his White Sox debut. "This year, knowing I'm going to be on the team and feeling healthy, it's just nice to ease into Spring Training a little bit. Maybe work hard on some things in spring and fine-tune everything and get ready to go for the season."

• Rollins accepts role as mentor to young White Sox 

Adolfo making progress

Micker Adolfo, the club's No. 8 prospect in the new rankings, is progressing well in his comeback from August surgery to repair a fractured fibula and ligament damage in his left ankle. Baserunning is the last part of the rehab process to test, with his left leg even stronger now than his uninjured right leg.

• Breaking down the White Sox Top 30 Prospects

The 19-year-old could start the season at Class A Kannapolis, but he's most likely to return to the Arizona Rookie League at the outset.

Birthday greetings

White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf turned 80 on Thursday.

They said it

"I remember growing up, we would walk over to the 7-11. I figured they go together." -- Rollins, on changing his jersey number from 11 to 7, with 11 being retired by the White Sox for Luis Aparicio.

"He's one of the top 10 characters that I've ever met in my life, and by that, I say that in a good way." -- Williams, on Eddie Einhorn, who passed away on Tuesday.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Matt Albers, Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie, Jimmy Rollins