TORONTO -- Though his .111 batting average is far from where he’d like it to be, Adam Dunn isn’t in a bad way over his early struggles.
The White Sox slugger has followed to a tee the approach he and his coaches wanted, and Dunn feels like he has swung at good pitches.
But where Dunn believes he needs improvement is on the execution end of the matter. Through 14 games, Dunn has a .111/.172/.241 slash line with two homers and five RBIs in 58 plate appearances.
“I’ve got some pitches to hit that I haven’t driven ‘em,” Dunn said. “Other than that, I feel like I’m ready to hit up there. I can only think of two at-bats that I’ve really went up and chased bad pitches. For the most part I haven’t really done that. You look at the numbers and they’re obviously horrible, but I don’t feel as bad as the numbers indicate.”
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Dunn has reason to believe his numbers will improve.
Compared with two seasons ago, when Dunn had the worst year of his career, he’s striking out in three percent less of the time. At his current rate, that would mean Dunn would finish with 31 fewer strikeouts in the same number of plate appearances.
He also has a measly .121 batting average on balls put in play. Dunn’s career average on balls in play is .287. Though some of that can be attributed to the defensive shift, Dunn’s certainly due for better luck than he has had thus far.
Seeing as he’s happy with his process, Dunn can live with his early numbers a little more easily.
“Yes and no,” Dunn said. “Yes, because I’m doing what I kind of set out to do, it’s been my plan all along. Obviously this game is about results and I’m not getting results. I don’t know if I need to think about changing anything. I don’t feel as bad as everything looks.”
Coop back Friday
Pitching coach Don Cooper is expected to rejoin the White Sox on Friday after missing 10 straight games after he was hospitalized with diverticulitis.
Cooper will return to Chicago from Washington, D.C. on Friday and has been resting at home. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said the team has handled his absence well but it has been strange not having Cooper in the dugout.
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“We are looking forward to having Coop back,” Ventura said. “It’s odd him not being here, and I’m glad he’s feeling better. It will be nice to have him back. Bobby (Thigpen) has filled in and done a great job. But it’s different not having Coop for the conversations you’re used to having in the middle of the game. I’m definitely looking forward to him getting back with us.”
Konerko DHs again
Paul Konerko is the team’s designated hitter for the seventh straight game, while Dunn is at first. Ventura said the move has nothing to do with anything physical except that he wants to preserve Konerko. Konerko is expected to play at first base when the team gets home but that plan could change based on the weather.
“Paul will play some first base when we get home,” Ventura said. “I didn’t want Paulie on the turf. It just seems to create problems every time guys get on turf, and depending on how cold it is.”
Thus far, Konerko has played seven of the White Sox 15 games at first base while Dunn will make his eighth appearance in Thursday’s finale.