Dunn disappointed in way 2012 ended


Dunn disappointed in way 2012 ended

It doesnt matter how the White Sox played above the expectations of pundits and analysts in 2012, Adam Dunn is disappointed in the end result.

The White Sox slugger addressed his dissatisfaction with how the teams season ended in a second-place finish after leading the American League Central for 117 days on Tuesday.

The White Sox couldnt hold the three-game lead they held as of Sept. 18 as the Detroit Tigers -- who open World Series play in San Francisco at 7:07 p.m. on Wednesday -- charged back to win the AL Central crown.

Dunn, who on Tuesday was named the AL comeback player of the year by The Sporting News, spoke to reporters about the Tigers and a variety of other topics.

You knew (Detroit to the World Series) was going to happen, Dunn said on a conference call. Me and my brother were sitting there talking about it and I was like, Man, its going to end up being Detroit because that would pour more salt in the wound and sure enough. I play for one thing and if I dont get it, its all for naught.

Most baseball insiders didnt believe the White Sox were capable of success in 2012. Sports Illustrated predicted the team would lose 95 games.

But with Dunn, Jake Peavy and Alex Rios all rebounding from poor 2011 campaigns, as well as unexpected high levels of production from a young pitching staff, the White Sox won 85 games. Their season was done in, however, when the team went 2-10 down the stretch. Dunn believes the early trip home wiped out much of the good accomplished in 2012.

It doesnt matter what you do if you dont reach the ultimate goal, Dunn said. Its a wasted year. I would hope everybody on the team feels that way. Its definitely a disappointing season because you didnt reach your goal.

Dunn said an oblique strain that sidelined him for nine games, including seven straight in early September, feels OK. When he asked the teams training staff how to help the injury heal, Dunn said he was advised to rest.

I planned on doing that anyway, Dunn said. I havent done anything for it other than just kind of rest.

Though he has spent the bulk of October resting, Dunn has also done some reconnaissance for the White Sox in regard to Peavy. The White Sox are expected to buy out Peavys 22 million club option for 4 million, which would make the right-hander a free agent. Dunn said he speaks to Peavy often and believes the pitcher wants to return to the club.

We dont talk numbers or this or that, but what I do know is he really, really wants to stay with us and I know that as a teammate, as a friend, wed love to have him back, Dunn said. If it doesnt work out, he understands. But I know he really, really hopes it works out.

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White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

The two fastballs that soared to the backstop on Wednesday night should give you a strong indication that Carlos Rodon was far from perfect.

But in making his first start of the 2017 season, the White Sox pitcher also offered his team plenty of signals that his health isn’t going to be an issue.

Rodon returned to the mound for the first time since last September and brought the goods that made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects several years ago. Given he’d missed three months with bursitis in the left shoulder and the potential value he offers to a franchise only half a season into its first rebuild in 20 years, that was plenty for the White Sox to overlook the rust Rodon showed in a 12-3 White Sox loss to the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“He started a little rough early obviously, got some high pitch counts,” manager Rick Renteria said. “And then he kind of settled down.

“Having him back in the rotation and getting him back out there on the big league field, coming out of there feeling good, healthy. I'm sure he will continue to get better as he continues to get out there and move forward.”

Renteria said he wasn’t surprised that Rodon struggled with his command as much as he did against the Yankees. The issues the pitcher displayed in uncorking a pair of wild pitches, walking six batters and throwing strikes on only 41 of 94 pitches were also present during Rodon’s four rehab starts in the minors.

But as long as the stuff was there, the White Sox would be OK with any issues that accompanied the performance. Rodon began to alleviate those concerns immediately when he earned a called strike on the game’s first pitch with a 93-mph fastball to Brett Gardner. Featuring a four-seamer with an absurd amount of movement and a nasty slider he struggled to control, Rodon checked all the boxes the White Sox hoped for from a pitcher they believe will be a frontline starter for years to come. Rodon also was pleased by how he felt before, during and after the contest.

“I was pretty excited,” Rodon said. “I was going a little fast in the first. But it was good to be out there. Next time out, it’ll hopefully be a little better. Arm feels good, body feels good, all you can ask for.”

Well, it’s not ALL you can ask for, but it’s pretty damn good out of the gate given how slow Rodon’s return took. His four-seam fastball averaged 94.9 mph according to BrooksBaseball.Net and touched 97 mph. His two-seamer averaged 94.4 mph and touched 95. And his slider, though he couldn’t control it, nor locate it for a strike, averaged 86 mph.

“You could see (Omar Narvaez) going over to try to catch some balls that were having tremendous run,” Renteria said. “That's (Rodon). He's got some tremendous life, he's just trying to harness it the best that he can and being able to execute where he wants to get as many strikes as possible.”

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The strikes were about the only thing Rodon didn’t bring with him. He walked Gardner to start the game and issued two more free passes after a Tim Anderson error allowed a run to score and extended the first inning. Rodon threw 37 pitches in the first, only 15 for strikes.

He also reached a full count to each of the batters he faced in the second inning. Rodon walked two more with two outs in the third inning after he’d retired six batters in a row.

And there were those pesky first-inning wild pitches that resembled something out of ‘Bull Durham.’

But all in all, Rodon and the White Sox ultimately saw enough in the first outing to be pleased.

“Great stuff, great life, but the goal is to put it in the zone and let them swing it to get guys out early,” Rodon said. “That’s not what happened. I’ll get back to that.”

“It’s a tough loss, but it’s better to be with the guys out on the field grinding than sitting on the couch and watching, for sure.”