CHICAGO -- Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is quite familiar with what Adam Dunn can do with the bat. Dunn batted clean-up, behind Zimmerman, for two years in Washington and combined to hit 76 home runs in those seasons.
"It's not easy to go from the National League to the American League, learn some new things," Zimmerman said. "The more he learns the more he becomes comfortable, I think he'll have a good second half."
Dunn, who entered Friday hitting just .175 with seven home runs, also received a vote of confidence from former Nationals manager Jim Riggleman.
"I am really surprised," Riggleman said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I still think Adam's going to come out of it and get it going.
"Adam Dunn -- and I heard Ozzie say this -- is a really good hitter. He's not just a slugger. This guy has an idea what he's doing up there. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I guarantee you when you look up at the end, he'll have at least 25 [home runs], if not 30, and then next year he'll get back on his pace for 40."
Dunn has been criticized by some for not hitting in the offseason, but Zimmerman defended his former teammate's workout habits.
"He's prepared the same way that I've ever seen him and he's gotten a lot of home runs and he's been a really consistent player. It's just kind of a way for [people] to nitpick a little bit," Zimmerman said. "Adam, I guess, gets that a lot ... because he comes across as someone who doesn't work hard or doesn't care the most, but after playing with him and being his teammate for a couple years, it's almost the complete opposite."
Dunn has been racking up the strikeouts this season at an epic pace -- his 91 lead all of baseball -- and has had it especially rough of late. Entering Friday, Dunn had struck out in seven of his last 11 at-bats.
Fans have started to grow weary with the lack of contact, as Dunn has recently been the target of regular booing at U.S. Cellular Field.
"Anytime you don't do well, obviously it hurts you the most, you want to succeed, you want to help the team win, getting booed is no fun for anyone," Zimmerman said. "Adam's a pretty resilient guy, he doesn't let too much bother him."
Sahadev Sharma covers the Cubs and White Sox for ESPNChicago.com.