Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Adam Dunn's swings OK with manager
By Chris Silva
Special to ESPNChicago.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago White Sox slugger Adam Dunn took his first live batting practice Tuesday, and the reaction of his manager was in stark contrast to that of his former one after Dunn's first cuts last spring.
Former manager Ozzie Guillen said he noticed a couple of days into spring training last year that Dunn's swing was going to be a problem, and it was.
Dunn, who had signed a four-year, $56 million contract before last season, became only the second non-pitcher in MLB history with at least 35 plate appearances to have a strikeout total (177) higher than his batting average (.159).
Guillen said he could see problems right away. New manager Robin Ventura, a former hitting coach, did not see any red flags.
"He looked fine to me," Ventura said Tuesday. "He was hitting live today. I saw him when he was hitting live. I didn't go over and look at batting practice, but he looked fine.
"I saw him hit yesterday BP. He looks great. Feeling good. That's all right now that I'm asking for. I was a hitting coach for a while, but I don't have the ability to just go out there and say, 'Not going to work.' "
Guillen said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on Feb. 10 that he could tell Dunn would be in for a rough season based on his first batting practice session. Guillen said he was approached by then-hitting coach Greg Walker, who told Guillen he needed to come see Dunn's session.
"He says, 'We have a problem,' " Guillen said. "I say, 'What? Spring training is only a couple of days (old).' He says, 'You've got to come out and see Adam Dunn's swing.' I said, 'Don't worry about it. We've got a month and a half to get ready, go through spring training. Don't worry about it.' "
Guillen said that after seeing Dunn's swing, he told bench coach Joey Cora that they had "a big problem" on their hands.
"It was painful to see Adam Dunn every at-bat and walk behind me (in the dugout) with a long face (after) striking out," Guillen said.
Guillen left for the Miami Marlins at the end of last season, and Walker is with the Atlanta Braves.
Dunn took batting practice this offseason for the first time in more than five years. He's not going to get caught up in his spring training numbers, though.
"It doesn't matter to me if I go out and hit .500 with 20 home runs in the spring," he said recently. "It probably won't translate over to the season."
Chris Silva is a special contributor to ESPNChicago.com.