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White Sox spring training headlines: Attendance projections and the Baines boost

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Plus: Chris Sale navigates PED minefield and Alexei Ramirez is comfortable in his own hitting skin.

It's portrait season.
It's portrait season.
USA TODAY Sports

The White Sox's significant price restructuring and reductions have resulted in a slightly rosier attendance projection for 2013.

It's not rosy enough to ward off the hand-wringing, because it's still under the nice, round 2 million mark (1.946 million). On the other hand, the Tribune's story reminds us that the Sox avoided a different key number last year:

The figures were released Tuesday at a meeting of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, which owns U.S. Cellular Field and manages its daily operations. Because paid attendance fell below 1,925,000, the Sox were not required to pay the public agency additional ticket fees beyond a base rent of $1,537,000, as required by a management agreement between the team and the agency.

Those fees range from $3 to $7 per ticket. Even though the preseason projections require a significant cushion on both sides, I'm guessing the Sox will have to cover some overages this season. The Sunday deal seems too good to ignore.

Manto & Baines: They're Cops!

Mark Gonzales details some potential differences in hitting tutelage now that Harold Baines is officially an assistant coach. He didn't want to step on Jeff Manto's toes before, but Baines' full-time duties will allow the coaches to develop programs between them.

Tyler Flowers certainly likes the cut of Baines' jib:

On the Manto front, he's seeing what we're seeing: an emboldened Brent Morel.

Sale & Peavy: They're Dutiful!

*Chris Sale has always possessed the uncanny ability to answer potentially difficult questions with a balance of candor and propriety, and it's no different when discussing the latest PED controversies, and the caution required to stay clean. The awareness of Frank Thomas' case is worth bonus points, although when Sale drops the phrase, "mind your Ps and Qs," I'm now starting to wonder if he's secretly 53 instead of 23.

*Jake Peavy often overtalks, but this story about his decision to withdraw from World Baseball Classic consideration is worth reading.

"Yeah, I heard from Joe and Greg Maddux, obviously the friend that he is," Peavy said. "I told Maddux that I would get ready and do it. Obviously, I understand the hesitation from the White Sox's standpoint. I had just gotten back last year into a form of being who I'm supposed to be. When [new general manager] Rick Hahn talked to me and said, 'Look, I'm going to object to this,' at the end of the day, you've got to be respectful to your authority and I didn't give any resistance. I sadly had to decline the opportunity, but it wasn't easy."

In other news

*Underrated spring training story type: When a coach suggests a player needs to change something, and the player is all like, "Nah, I'm good." In this case, it's Alexei Ramirez's hitting approach. It happened in Detroit, too, with Austin Jackson and stealing bases.

*Dallas McPherson, of all people, helped put Brian Omogrosso on the right track last year.

*Courtney Hawkins ranked No. 55 on Baseball America's Top 100 list.

*Hector Santiago is preparing for "sixth-guy" duties at the moment, which is good.

*The early leader for Injury Description of the Year:

Outfielder Dewayne Wise also was held out because of a sore neck suffered when he fell asleep on pillows while watching television.

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