- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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Aside from the question of where Jeff Keppinger hits in the lineup, manager Robin Ventura will still need to decide what he will do with the heart of the order.
The first Cactus League game of the spring, he used Rios in the No. 3 hole, while Adam Dunn was dropped to the fifth spot, a lineup location he was not used in at all last season.
For Dunn, none of it seems to make a difference.
"I've literally hit pretty much everywhere in the lineup," Dunn said. "I've led off, hit second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth. To me it doesn't matter whatsoever. That's not even an issue; that's not even nothing. It doesn't matter."
A look back showed that Dunn did bat in the top spot of the order once in 2010 with the Washington Nationals, but that was when he pinch hit for the leadoff hitter. The last time he started the game as the leadoff hitter was in 2003 with the Cincinnati Reds, doing it 15 times that year.
"I used to steal some bags too," Dunn said. "I don't know. I led off in high school. Again, everybody looks at me like I was crazy: ‘You led off?' Yeah, I led off. You're only the leadoff hitter once. I bet if you look at the numbers I'll bet the No. 4 guy leads off the inning as many times as the leadoff hitter."
The only lineup spots Dunn hasn't been in at the start of a game are the No. 8 and 9 holes. The leadoff spot isn't going to happen, but Dunn wouldn't complain if it did.
"Again, it definitely doesn't matter," Dunn said about where he might hit this season. "The good thing about (hitting higher in the order) is you normally get that fifth at-bat and that's the cool thing. Normally you get that extra bat to where if you hit fourth, fifth, sixth, somewhere down there you usually don't get that fifth at-bat."
It's all about winning for Dunn and if batting fifth, behind Konerko, makes the White Sox a better team, then he's all for it.
"Really last year to me was, to be honest with you, the way it finished it was the same way in 2011 to me, the same way in 2010, 2009 and so on," said Dunn, who took no joy from his better numbers last season. "You put so much into this to be so close like we were last year and to have things not go our way, that's tough."