Designated hitter is a gig Sox slugger Adam Dunn can dig
By Daryl Van Schouwen Sun-Times Media May 13, 2011 11:28PM
The White Sox-Athletics game ended too late for this edition.
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
OAKLAND, Calif. — Adam Dunn has tried them all, and he has finally settled into a designated-hitter routine.
And the winner is …
“I sit there and watch the game and don’t do anything until about two batters before I’m due up,’’ the White Sox first-year designated hitter said Friday. “Then and I go down, stretch a little and take 10 or 15 swings and I go with it.’’
Dunn, a DH for the first time in a career that was limited to the National League, wasn’t enamored with the idea of not playing the field, but to his credit he embraced the DH role and is bent on making the most of it.
He’s finding out it’s not such a bad thing, after all.
“If you’re hitting and winning it’s probably the best gig you can have, you know?’’ Dunn said. “I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable doing it. Trying to get where it’s second nature.’’
Dunn hates to say he told you so, but his bat is heating up after a sluggish extended start that coincided with the team’s offensive woes.
“I feel good,’’ said Dunn, who had four hits including a home run and double in the Sox’s 6-4 win against the Angels in 10 innings Wednesday night. The difference between when I’m doing good and not doing good is I’m taking pitches I should be hitting or I’m fouling them off.’’
Going into the Sox’s game against the Athletics in Oakland on Friday night, Dunn was 10-for-21 (.476) with five doubles, a home run, four RBI and seven runs scored in his previous five games.
A streaky hitter who is one of eight hitters to record five consecutive seasons with 40 home runs (Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Ralph Kiner, Alex Rodriguez, Babe Ruth, Duke Snider and Sammy Sosa are the others) Dunn knew it was only a matter of time.
“You know, if I would have started off hot as could be, I would have said, ‘Relax,’ ’’ he said. “There will be some rough spots coming through here. It’s how I am. I wish I was a lot more consistent player, but I’ve got to ride the streaks when they are good.’’
Dunn entered the game Friday batting .213 with four homers and 16 RBI. Because of 22 walks, his on-base percentage was .348, the third highest among Sox regulars.
“He’s not too far away,’’ manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He’s getting big hits for us.’’
Settling into a routine between at-bats hasn’t hurt.
“It’s the best thing I’ve tried,’’ Dunn said. “I’ve tried everything else. I feel like I’m into the game because I’m sitting on the bench watching it.’’
Dunn talked to other designated hitters, asked for ideas, heard.
“Some say they don’t do anything, some say they sit in clubhouse and come down only when they hit,’’ Dunn said. “I can’t hit non-stop, so I had to try a little of everything.’’
Dunn works in his first baseman’s glove and will be ready when called to spell Paul Konerko. He has also played left field in his career, although not all that well. When Guillen was asked during spring training if Dunn might play left, the Sox manager laughed.
The subject has come up recently, what with Juan Pierre’s struggles in left (five errors), but Dunn doesn’t even have an outfielder’s glove. Asked if he would have interest in playing left, Dunn was surprised by the question.
“You’re going way back with that,’’ he said. “That’s been a while.
“I don’t know if I got that glove left. Whatever, I wouldn’t care. I’m sure I could scrounge one up if I had to.’’
Sports editor’s note: The White Sox-Athletics game ended too late for this edition. For late scores, go to www.suntimes.com/sports.