It’s been well chronicled that Adam Dunn has had a rough start the season as his .196 batting average would indicate. However, what even manager Ozzie Guillen found hard to believe was the fact that in 33 plate appearances this season, Dunn has yet to get a hit off of a lefty. Has Guillen thought about sitting the struggling slugger when opposing a southpaw?
“If I’m going to sit him, it’ll be to have a [regular] day off,” Guillen said. “This guy is a pure, good hitter and is going through a tough time right now.”
For his part, Dunn recently said he feels good when facing lefties. Guillen found that a little funny and said he definitely doesn’t want to see what happens when Dunn’s feeling bad against a lefty.
Dunn is playing his first season in the American League and is trying to adjust to being a full-time DH. Guillen decided to start Dunn at first base Saturday against the Dodgers, hoping that mentally, getting on the field to play defense would help Dunn at the plate as well.
“[Playing DH] can be an excuse [for struggling at the plate], [it’s] not an easy thing to do,” Guillen said. “Especially then you do it for the first time.”
Guillen emphasized that he’s not worried about Dunn’s strikeouts per se, those were expected when he was signed. Guillen just wants to be sure the burly lefty isn’t taking a poor approach at the plate. He wants to be sure that Dunn is giving him his best at-bat every time he steps in the batter’s box.
“Dunn, like everyone else when they struggle, is swinging at bad pitches,” Guillen said. “When you’re desperate for a hit then you really put yourself in a tough situation because everything you see around the plate, you swing at.”
Guillen seems confident enough in Dunn that he is keeping him in the third spot in the lineup, at least for the near future. Guillen likes what Carlos Quentin is doing batting fifth. Despite signs of turning it around, Alex Rios isn’t hitting enough for Guillen to move him to Dunn’s spot. Guillen also wants someone to get on base for Konerko and Dunn is doing that by taking walks (23 on the season), despite struggling to get hits.
Of course, Guillen, along with the rest of the team, is waiting for Dunn to deliver on the power that was expected . Dunn has 14 extra base hits on the season and is slugging .355.
“[Dunn] told me something very interesting in spring training, he said ‘I’ve got to hit 75 balls good, 35 home runs and 40 doubles’”, Guillen said. “I told him, yeah, but I need another 400 at-bats to be pretty good.”
Homecoming: Jon Garland (1-3, 3.55 ERA) has been on the mound numerous times at U.S. Cellular Field, but today will mark the first time he comes to the South Side to pitch for the opposition. Garland, who was part of the White Sox 2005 World Series winning staff, was honored before Friday's game along with his Dodger teammate and former White Sox infielder Juan Uribe. Guillen admitted that he’s not one to get emotional, but the pregame tribute to Garland and Uribe definitely was moving.
Mark Buehrle (3-3, 4.07), who is very good friends with Garland, will be on the mound for the White Sox. Despite seeing two good friends go at it on the mound, Guillen didn’t expect his team to be taking it easy out there.
“Seeing [Garland] pitch against us and Buehrle on the mound is kind of weird,” Guillen said. “I think Garland did a tremendous job and continues to do well, but we’re gonna kick his butt.”