Ventura: Dunn must appear on stage

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Manager Robin Ventura was insistent that Adam Dunn attend Sunday’s Academy Awards, but he wouldn’t let his slugger leave without making one promise.

Ventura said Thursday that one condition for Dunn to attend the movie industry’s biggest night is that he absolutely must go on stage if “Dallas Buyers Club” wins the award for best picture.

As part of the production team for “Dallas Buyers Club,” Dunn certainly would be allowed on stage for the moment. Dunn is an investor in the production company Truth Entertainment, which made the film after the 2012 baseball season.

The film stars Matthew McConaughey (nominated for best actor) and Jared Leto (nominated for best supporting actor). Dunn had a cameo in the film as a bartender and his character was listed in the credits as Neddie Jay.

Dunn had been noncommittal to leaving camp, but Ventura and general manager Rick Hahn have essentially insisted that he go. Dunn finally confirmed his travel plans Thursday.

“He’s a great teammate,” Ventura said. “He came in and talked it over and he wanted to make sure everybody was all right with it but I think he should go. It’s probably once in a lifetime. I don’t know how many more movies he’s going to be in. I don’t know if his career is going to take off after Neddie Jay.”

Chris Sale joked Thursday that he was going to be Dunn’s date for the awards show. Other teammates razzed Dunn about talking to the media about the subject again. Yet there are no indications that anybody thinks Dunn should stay in Arizona instead of taking a quick 36-hour trip to Los Angeles.

“It’s a cool thing,” said Ventura, who saw the movie last month. “I think he should go do it and guys are happy for him. Everybody’s probably going to watch it to see if they can spot him. Hopefully he wins. He has to go up if he wins, that’s part of the rules of going. Everybody’s happy for him to go and do something fun like that.”

While watching the film, Ventura admitted that he was instantly distracted when Dunn came on the screen. He even laughed at the sight of Dunn flipping a towel over his shoulder while working the bar. Ventura admitted that he was scolded by his wife for laughing during a moment that was not supposed to be comedic.

While Dunn brought a tuxedo with him to spring training, he said he is going to rent a higher-end model instead. As far as what he will wear when he gets back to camp, Ventura liked the idea of hanging a jersey with “Neddie Jay” across the back instead of Dunn’s last name.

Dunn certainly hasn’t herd the end of the teasing in the clubhouse and if that Best Picture award comes through, his teammates probably won’t let him live it down.

And what are the chances “Dallas Buyers Club” wins all six awards it is nominated for?

“I think the first step is getting nominated,” Dunn said. “If I got the vote, I would tell you six. But you know, again that’s what is going to be kind of the cool thing about it, seeing how it all plays out and actually being there when it does.”