ANAHEIM -- Jeff Manto credits Adam Dunn for having an open mind as the two have tried to apply several different remedies to the slugger’s swing.
The White Sox hitting coach said Dunn, who is 6-for-15 with three homers and two walks on the road trip, has worked tirelessly to get his swing back in shape after a rough start to the season. Although he has been hot on this trip, Dunn brings a .167 average with nine homers and 19 RBIs into Friday’s game.
Manto estimates the pair has made five or six different adjustments at this point. He also said because of Dunn’s athletic ability, he easily finds comfort in the adjustments, which means they have to try each one out to see if it truly is a fit.
“One of the things you try to do is get somebody to feel comfortable with something different,” Manto said. “He can do anything. We’ve been experimenting quite a bit. That’s how he is. That’s how you get through to him. He’s an adventurous guy. He likes to try different things. He’s not just the run-of-the-mill, one-standard-thing and that’s what makes him so good.”
Dunn credits holding his hands higher as a reason for his recent success. He made the switch last weekend and said he has had an easier time getting pitches he had missed in recent weeks.
But Dunn said he’s made so many adjustments even he can’t keep track. He even has gone back to review old footage of his days with the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals.
“I don’t even know any more because I did so many different things in one day and I’d be like ‘(Manto) what did you like about that?’ ” Dunn said. “He’s like ‘I like this, this and this’ so I’d try to do that. ‘What do you like about the hands here?’ ‘Well I like this.’ I went from here to here to here to here and throw it against the wall and see what sticks. That’s what we’ve got.”
White Sox manager also said Dunn has renewed confidence in himself, which makes everything easier. The left-hander hitter has been hitting the ball with power the opposite way all trip. Now that he knows he’s got it back, Dunn should go easier on himself, Ventura said.
“Confidence goes a long ways,” Ventura said. “Once you get a couple and he’s hitting some pretty good. I would say in the last four days, he’s looked better at the plate. Even outs are hard outs. So I’m sure there’s something to do with it.”
Dunn thinks he’s also had a little luck of late although the point could be argued. Sure, Dunn did have an RBI single past a drawn-in infield on Thursday night that might have been an out had the Angels been able to employ the normal Dunn shift.
But Dunn also had a home run robbed by Aaron Hicks on Monday and a single stolen by first-base umpire Dan Bellino on Tuesday.
Either way, Dunn is glad to not be missing pitches any more.
“It’s nothing other than when I have had pitches to hit, I’ve put them in play and found holes,” Dunn said.