Ballantini: Dunn hopes to be sprung soon

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Ballantini: Dunn hopes to be sprung soon

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Posted: 2:18 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com
Adam Dunn emerged from his postoperative, underground lair and took batting practice in the warm breeze of an uncommonly beautiful, 80-degree Chicago afternoon and didnt look any different than when he still had his appendix.

It was good to get out of solitary confinement and hang out with the general population, you know what I mean? Dunn said after a full hitting session on the field. The genial slugger put at least three balls over the fence and another high off the wall, taking batting practice balls out to center and giving Omar Vizquel the chance to delightfully chase bruised and battered baseballs into the center-field tunnel.

Whether the White Sox will clear him to start tomorrow night against As lefthander Dallas Braden, who Dunn has never faced (in eight career games vs. Oakland, Dunn has a .643 OPS with two homers and four RBI).

I dont know if Ill play, the Big Donkey said. Im done making those bold predictions. I feel better than I did yesterday, which is good. But again, the guys who are looking at me are a lot smarter than I am. I just want to be ready when Im in the lineup, whenever that may be.

One thing that was evident is that the slugger was swinging freely in the cage, under the watchful eye of hitting coach Greg Walker. When one observer felt Dunn was swinging too softly, Dunn was quick issue a correction.

You know, I really dont ever swing full force until the game, Dunn said. Today I swung more aggressively than I did yesterday, and it felt good. Im still going to feel stuff, but its nothing where its going to inhibit the way I swing the bat.

Dunn has been adamant about never wanting to miss a game and crawling the wallsas much as a load of a mellow fellow can crawl walls. Its easy to imagine a multimillionaire taking his sweet time to return from a serious surgical procedure, but Dunn is no ordinary superstar.

Its been a battleI wouldnt call it learning, Dunn said when asked what hes learned from being sidelined. I feel like Im being punished. Its kind of like youre, being grounded and you dont know what you did. I hope it never, ever happens again.

Thats what manager Ozzie Guillen adores about Dunneven if it means he has to keep a seriously watchful eye on his status.

This guy is a baseball playerhe wants to be out there, Guillen said. He doesnt want to sit down and watch his teammates having fun and play the game. You as a manager, as a coach, you always appreciate when the guys want to go out and perform, and I do. But we have to be careful. Were not in a hurry. We want to make sure when hes back, hes back for good.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Miguel Gonzalez can't stop two-out rallies as White Sox fall to Oakland

Miguel Gonzalez can't stop two-out rallies as White Sox fall to Oakland

GLENDALE, Ariz. — His split-fingered fastball could use a little work, but Miguel Gonzalez is ready for the regular season.

The White Sox pitcher allowed four earned runs, all with two outs, in his penultimate Cactus League start on Wednesday. Gonzalez also gave up nine hits as the White Sox lost to the Oakland A’s 5-3 at Camelback Ranch.

"I'm pretty excited for (the regular season)," Gonzalez said. "We all know that spring can be a little long sometimes. But we are here, we are here to work and keep doing what we are doing. We are going to be OK."

Gonzalez allowed two runs each in the first and second innings. Both rallies came with two outs and were a bit of a surprise to the right-hander, who left after 4 1/3 innings. Gonzalez wonders if his split-fingered fastball might not be as sharp as normal because of the dry desert air in Arizona that affects many pitchers.

"It wasn't there today," Gonzalez said. "Not quite as good as I thought it would be. Bullpen I felt really good. Falling behind hitters first two innings. That doesn't really help you, especially a team like this that's very aggressive.

"I'm working on (the splitter). It's fine. I mean it's a little different then it is in Florida. It's not as humid. But you can't think that way. You have to go out there and keep working."

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Melky Cabrera went 1-for-3 with two RBIs for the White Sox. Yolmer Sanchez tripled and homered in the loss. Former White Sox farmhand Frankie Montas struck out four over two scoreless innings to earn the save for Oakland.

The White Sox sent four more players to minor league camp before the game, including reliever Tommy Kahnle. The team sent five players to the minors on Tuesday, including pitcher Carson Fulmer. While Fulmer would love to start the season in the majors, he said it won't hinder him from taking advantage of his time at Triple-A Charlotte.

"Obviously last year getting a taste, it's that dream you've had since you were a kid," Fulmer said. "You want more of it. It's not an addiction in a way. But once you get a taste of it you want more of it. All of us young guys are trying to get back to where we've been. I think time will tell, but I think we'll get a chance here soon and get a chance to create something special."

Team USA captures first World Baseball Classic championship

Team USA captures first World Baseball Classic championship

For the first time in the history of the World Baseball Classic, the United States of America walked away champions.

Team USA bested Puerto Rico in blowout fashion on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, winning the championship game by an 8-0 score at Dodger Stadium.

White Sox relief pitchers David Robertson and Nate Jones were part of the championship-winning American roster. Robertson pitched in Wednesday's game, closing things out with a scoreless ninth inning.

Cubs infielder Javy Baez came up short as a member of the Puerto Rican team. Baez went 0-for-3 with a strikeout on Wednesday.

Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman dominated the Puerto Rican lineup, pitching six no-hit innings before surrendering the first hit in the seventh inning.

The Americans crossed home plate eight times on the night, getting a two-run home run from Tigers infielder Ian Kinsler and two-run hits from Christian Yelich and Brandon Crawford. Andrew McCutchen also drove in two, and Kinsler and Nolan Arenado scored two runs apiece.

The Puerto Ricans mustered just three hits.

This was the first time the United States even advanced to the championship game in the four times the event has been staged. It's just the second top-four finish for the Americans. They finished fourth in 2009.