- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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Dunn, who was injured toward the end of the season (oblique strain), was displeased with the team’s poor finish as well as his own inability to do much about the Sox’s late season collapse. Watching the Detroit Tigers advance to the World Series hasn’t helped matters.
“I knew that was going to happen,” Dunn said. “My brothers and I were talking about it (after the Sox were eliminated). I knew it was going to be them pouring more salt on the wounds. Now... sure enough.”
The 32-year-old Texas native matched his usual career numbers in home runs (41) and RBIs (96), but was frustrated by his lack of consistent contact. That aside, rebounding from his 2011 disaster, which could be argued was the worst batting performance in baseball history, had its satisfying moments during 2012, including the comeback award.
“I’m sure my (family) really enjoys it more than I do,” Dunn said. “I don’t really play for (awards), I play for one thing (championships) and if I don’t get it than it is all for naught. I am very appreciative of this award but I really wish I would have never won it because you have to have the bad go with the good.”
Last offseason Dunn spent more time on conditioning and hitting. Prior to his 2012 comeback he had really not pushed getting into shape as a priority -- conditioning usually took care of itself in spring training. All that of course changed after he hit .159 in 2011, the lowest batting average (450 or more at-bats) in major league history.
To Dunn’s credit he never made any excuses about the 2011 debacle or, for that matter, did any bragging during his comeback campaign this season. Areas that Dunn would like to improve on consist of driving the ball to the opposite field more frequently and cutting down his strikeouts. His 222 strikeouts in 2012 were the most in a single season in American League history.
“I have said it before, I’d really like to be more aggressive early in the count,” Dunn said. “I would like not to single it down to one pitch and one location. Just look at location and hit off of that.”
Dunn has two years remaining on the four-year, $56 million deal he signed before the 2011 season. Looking toward 2013 Dunn hopes that teammate and would-be-free-agent Jake Peavy resigns with the White Sox.
“We talk a lot,” Dunn said. “This is his first time being a free agent, so we don’t talk numbers, but what I do know is he really, really wants to stay with us. Also what I do know as a teammate and as a friend is we really would love to have him back. I know he really hopes it works out.”