Dunn takes home 'bittersweet' Comeback Player of the Year honors

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Dunn takes home 'bittersweet' Comeback Player of the Year honors

Adam Dunn delivered on Tuesday a promise he made in February as The Sporting News has named him American League comeback player of the year.

The White Sox slugger was honored after he was named an All-Star for the first time since 2002 and hit .204 with 41 home runs, 96 RBIs, 105 walks and 87 runs scored in 151 games in 2012.

One season earlier, Dunn hit .159 with 11 homers, 42 RBIs, 36 runs and 75 walks in 122 games.

Winning the award isnt a surprise to Dunn, who told CSNChicago.com in spring training it was one to which he had already laid claim. But its an experience he wouldnt mind having skipped altogether.

Its an award I hope I never win again, Dunn said on a conference call. Its bittersweet. Im very appreciative, but I wish I never would have won it -- then I wouldnt have had the bad to go with the good.

Dunn wasn't the teams only viable candidate for the award as pitcher Jake Peavy and outfielder Alex Rios rebounded nicely from poor 2011 campaigns as well. But Dunn was voted the award winner by fellow AL players after he hit 18 homers that tied the game or put the White Sox ahead. Dunn also had a career-high 15 homers against left-handed pitchers after he hit none in 2011.

We had a number of guys mentioned throughout the season as candidates for this award, which is gratifying for us as a coaching staff, said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. Adam is one of the best clubhouse guys I have been around, and its nice to see that his hard work paid off. He is deserving of the honor.

Peavy bounced back from potential career-ending surgery and two injury-riddle seasons to go 11-12 with a 3.37 ERA and posted team-highs with 219 innings and 194 strikeouts. Rios hit .304 with 25 homers, 91 RBIs, 93 runs and 23 stolen bases and a team-high 184 hits in 2012. In 2011, Rios hit .227 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs. At SoxFest in January, Dunn said he thought the White Sox made two major offseason additions in getting himself and Rios back to normal.

Without (Rios), we would have been sunk, Dunn said.

Dunn, 32, became the fifth White Sox player to be named AL comeback player of the year since its inception in 1965, joining Jim Thome (2006), Paul Konerko (2004), Frank Thomas (2000) and Bo Jackson (1993).

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Sunday:

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

What if… Cubs GM Jed Hoyer’s takeaways from epic World Series Game 7

Quick hits: Blackhawks start strong in win over Blues

Illini keep NCAA tournament hopes afloat with dominant win over Nebraska

White Sox: Happy with progress, Brett Lawrie tries to clear final hurdles

How Indians regrouped and reloaded after losing unforgettable Game 7 to Cubs

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

Michigan State gets big win to boost tourney hopes, while Wisconsin loses for fourth time in five games

 

 

 

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Scott Darling found out at 8 o'clock this morning that he was starting for an ailing Corey Crawford. Considering he did this back in December for a few weeks, adjusting quick for one game was fine.

"It's kind of my job," Darling said.

And Darling, once again, did his job.

Darling stopped 30 of 32 shots and Patrick Kane scored his 24th goal of the season as the Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night. The Blackhawks have won nine of their last 10 games. They're one point behind the Minnesota Wild, who made their splashy trade-deadline move in acquiring Martin Hanzal on Sunday. But the Blackhawks, thanks to veterans regaining their form, a top line finding its rhythm and youth consistently improving, are just rolling right along.

"We had a great start to the game. I thought Darls was excellent all night, great stretch there in the last 10 minutes where we fight through some tough shifts, particularly in the last couple of minutes in our end. But good win," coach Joel Quenneville said. "You look at the nice plays on the goals, it was kind of a comparable ending to the outdoor game: tied and about the same time they scored, we scored (tonight). Big two points for us."

Jonathan Toews scored his 16th of the season and Artem Anisimov scored the game-winning goal with 5:20 remaining in regulation. Tanner Kero added an empty-net goal with 2.6 seconds remaining in the game.

The Blackhawks already knew they'd be without Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) for at least a day or two when they found out Crawford couldn't go this morning. As Quenneville said Darling was strong once again, denying the Blues all but twice (a 2-on-1 goal from Magnus Paajarvi and a power-play goal from Alex Pietrangelo).

Toews and Kane (power-play goal) staked the Blackhawks to a 2-0 lead early before the Blues tied it in the second. But late in the third period Anisimov took the feed from Artemi Panarin to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.

"I saw the puck all the way. It was easy to pick up," Anisimov said. "When you don't see the puck at the last moment and it comes, it's hard to receive and prepare for the next move. But I saw it all the way. Easy to prepare for the next move."

Speaking of next moves, do the Blackhawks make any more before the trade deadline. General manager Stan Bowman said on Friday, following the acquisition of Tomas Jurco, that he'll keep talking and listening but likes the group he has right now. If Bowman's made moves it's for what the Blackhawks have needed, not because of another team's trades. The Blackhawks like what they have right now. Winning nine of 10 and continuing to trend in the right direction, they should be careful not to disrupt what they've got going.

"I think we're, as we've said lately, trending the right way. We're playing solid. I think all four lines are contributing in every which way," Toews said. "I love our group right now. Everyone is getting better individually, contributing more and more and it's a lot of fun to see the way we're playing right now. We know that the ceiling is way higher and we can keep getting better too."