Sox manager remains in character — unflappable

"No,'' Thornton said.

Has Ventura told any relievers who it is?

"No,'' he said. "I don't know if you're ever going to get anything out of him.''

If the Sox surprise everybody and contend for a wild-card spot, Ventura's minimalism will be considered brilliant. But if they lose 90 games, Ventura's reservedness will create more frustration than he shows.

Before his official return to a major league dugout for the first time since retiring in 2004, Ventura wondered how he would adjust to the speed of the game as a manager. I don't think he meant Sox hitters approaching at-bats as if they were double-parked.

The Sox struck out 13 times in a game that lasted only 2 hours, 23 minutes. Their strikeout total broke the Rangers opening day opponent's record set in 1991 with Ryan also on hand — striking out nine instead of sitting in the owner's box next to former President George W. Bush.

"You're just trying to think ahead, but that was a quick game,'' Ventura said.

With 161 left, players took Ventura's don't worry-be happy perspective out the clubhouse door.

"Really, it's not important to us,'' Gordon Beckham said. "We started out great last year (2-0) and struggled so …''

Indeed, it's a new Sox season. Just listen.

Twitter @DavidHaugh