ANAHEIM, Calif. -- For the most part, Adam Dunn wanted to make sure he’s not pulling a “Tommy Tough Guy” routine as he returns to the lineup Sunday.
The White Sox slugger remembers exactly what he did to himself when he returned early from an oblique strain last September. In returning too quickly, Dunn never properly healed until months after the season ended.
With that in mind, Dunn feels he’s in good enough shape to go after he thoroughly tested his back in the batting cage.
Dunn is Sunday’s starting designated hitter and hitting cleanup for the White Sox, who are in search of a series victory over the Angels. The veteran was forced to leave Saturday’s game in the fifth inning with back spasms.
“There are times where the Tommy Tough Guy doesn’t work out too well for you,” Dunn said. “And so I was really making sure I like where everything is. I don’t want one game to screw up three weeks. But I felt good enough to think I ‘ll be fine.”
[RELATED: Dunn tries it all to revamp swing]
Dunn said he has made a ton of progress from Saturday, when his back locked up prior to a fourth-inning at-bat. The pain Dunn was experiencing when he returned to first base in the bottom of the inning was noticeable to the coaching staff. Dunn said the soreness he is still experiencing is vertically and not side-to-side, which shouldn’t affect his swing.
Manager Robin Ventura watched Dunn’s batting practice and noticed the difference with which he’s moving. Ventura also used the opportunity to crack a joke.
“Swinging, he looked normal. Not sure if that’s good or bad,” Ventura said with a smile. “He looked fine. He looked free and easy.”
Entrenched in his hottest streak of the season, Dunn -- 8-for-19 (.421) with four homers and 10 RBIs over his last five games -- admits he worried on Saturday night about how long he might be out. When he woke up, however, Dunn said his soreness is comparative to how he’d feel after a cramp.
Although he knows the macho routine didn’t work out last season, Dunn wouldn’t fully guarantee he’d back down if necessary.
“We’ll see how bad it is,” Dunn said. “I never came out of a game in my life. That was the worst thing. I don’t know if I can do that again.”