- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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“I went my rookie year, and I have not been back since so when people like me say it is an honor to go to the game it is not a cliché,” said Dunn, who last was an All-Star as a 22-year-old with the Cincinnati Reds.
Dunn, who will be in the conversation for Comeback Player of the Year, has been one of the major reasons the Sox carry a three-game lead in the American League Central into the second half of the season. His 25 home runs are second in the major leagues and his 61 RBIs are fifth in the AL. He is on pace for 50 home runs, 120 RBIs and a .900-plus OPS. All that comes a year after Dunn endured a nightmarish 2011 season in which he batted .159 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs.
“I expect to put up the numbers I always have each and every year,” Dunn said. “I said from day one that when I picked up a bat in the offseason that whatever happened last year was over, and I really was sure of that.”
Many baseball people looked at Dunn’s 2011 season as the beginning of the end for him. The challenge for Dunn was to forget the fact that he had had the worst season (batting average) in major league history.
“I am not a 38-year-old guy or a 40-year-old player trying to hang on,” Dunn said. “I am a young guy still, and I know I have a lot of baseball left. I just worked hard to try and get better.”
Dunn is looking forward to sharing the All-Star experience with his wife, two children and pitcher Chris Sale, who made his first All-Star team and joins teammates Dunn, Paul Konerko and Jake Peavy in Kansas City.
“He flew in with me so the one thing I have tried to impart to him is have fun and don’t let all of the activities like signing and interviews take away from the moment,” Dunn said. “I am living proof to him that you are not sure if you will ever get back no matter how good you are, so hopefully he will take it all in and have fun with it.”