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Williams impressed with club's early-season energy

CHICAGO -- Ken Williams often referred to the term "Chicago tough" in describing the type of players he wanted on the White Sox roster as the team's general manager.

The White Sox executive vice president wouldn't go to his catch phrase Tuesday in describing the 2014 version of the club, but he certainly likes the energy shown in the season's first couple of weeks.

"One thing I am really pleased about is that in our offseason conversations, our scouts, [general manager] Rick [Hahn], they really paid attention, they really focused on energy," Williams said. "And this goes back to the [Avisail] Garcia trade in July, where we said, 'This is the kind of team we want.'

"It seems to be that whether it be from the Minors, from the trades, we are developing this culture of hard-nosed, gritty kind of play again. I'm loving it."

With the front-office structure of the White Sox, Williams is able to go out and see some of these players and talk to the club's scouts to reinforce some things the team has tried to do over the years. Having this sort of energy becomes infectious throughout the clubhouse and the team.

"Of course. Just the way it works the opposite way, it works to the positive when you have guys that you know are coming to play every day," Williams said. "That you know are sacrificing for the good of a team.

"When you see an [Adam] Eaton have a nine-pitch at-bat, it's like, 'Let me get up there and fight.' When you see a [Jose] Abreu who can hit the ball 1,000 miles take a pitch in a situation and clearly he's trying to go up the middle for the base hit or to right-center field for the base hit, those are unselfish things that carry over for the good of the team."

Williams is not surprised by the change, since this was the type of team manager Robin Ventura expressly wanted to assemble for this season and beyond.

"No. 1 in the type of players we acquire and No. 2, and this is how they are going to play. This is how we are going to play, come hell or high water," said Williams of Ventura's focus. "If we got somebody that doesn't believe in the team concept, well we are going to have to get rid of them or move them on."

"They are scoring a bunch of runs and they have some energy," said Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski of his former team. "I know last year when we played against these guys, there wasn't a whole lot of energy."

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