White Sox

Ballantini: Dunn hopes to be sprung soon

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Ballantini: Dunn hopes to be sprung soon

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Posted: 2:18 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com
Adam Dunn emerged from his postoperative, underground lair and took batting practice in the warm breeze of an uncommonly beautiful, 80-degree Chicago afternoon and didnt look any different than when he still had his appendix.

It was good to get out of solitary confinement and hang out with the general population, you know what I mean? Dunn said after a full hitting session on the field. The genial slugger put at least three balls over the fence and another high off the wall, taking batting practice balls out to center and giving Omar Vizquel the chance to delightfully chase bruised and battered baseballs into the center-field tunnel.

Whether the White Sox will clear him to start tomorrow night against As lefthander Dallas Braden, who Dunn has never faced (in eight career games vs. Oakland, Dunn has a .643 OPS with two homers and four RBI).

I dont know if Ill play, the Big Donkey said. Im done making those bold predictions. I feel better than I did yesterday, which is good. But again, the guys who are looking at me are a lot smarter than I am. I just want to be ready when Im in the lineup, whenever that may be.

One thing that was evident is that the slugger was swinging freely in the cage, under the watchful eye of hitting coach Greg Walker. When one observer felt Dunn was swinging too softly, Dunn was quick issue a correction.

You know, I really dont ever swing full force until the game, Dunn said. Today I swung more aggressively than I did yesterday, and it felt good. Im still going to feel stuff, but its nothing where its going to inhibit the way I swing the bat.

Dunn has been adamant about never wanting to miss a game and crawling the wallsas much as a load of a mellow fellow can crawl walls. Its easy to imagine a multimillionaire taking his sweet time to return from a serious surgical procedure, but Dunn is no ordinary superstar.

Its been a battleI wouldnt call it learning, Dunn said when asked what hes learned from being sidelined. I feel like Im being punished. Its kind of like youre, being grounded and you dont know what you did. I hope it never, ever happens again.

Thats what manager Ozzie Guillen adores about Dunneven if it means he has to keep a seriously watchful eye on his status.

This guy is a baseball playerhe wants to be out there, Guillen said. He doesnt want to sit down and watch his teammates having fun and play the game. You as a manager, as a coach, you always appreciate when the guys want to go out and perform, and I do. But we have to be careful. Were not in a hurry. We want to make sure when hes back, hes back for good.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Dylan Cease struggles early, but finishes strong in second White Sox start

Dylan Cease struggles early, but finishes strong in second White Sox start

Dylan Cease picked up a win in his first start, but his second did not go as well.

Cease pitched six innings Tuesday at the Royals and gave up six runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk. He struck out seven, but took the loss in an ugly game for the White Sox.

The game got off to an ominous start with Eloy Jimenez getting injured on the first batter Cease faced. The White Sox defense didn’t help Cease much either with three errors (Cease had one of those on an errant pickoff throw).

After giving up six runs in the first four innings, Cease settled down to retire the final eight batters he faced. He finished with seven strikeouts against just one walk and threw 67 of his 108 pitches for strikes.

Cease struck out six in his first start and is the first pitcher in White Sox history to strike out six or more in each of his first two career appearances.

A deeper look at Cease’s numbers show his swing and miss stuff hasn’t quite caught on as expected so far. Cease got 13 swinging strikes in 101 pitches in his major league debut. He got 12 whiffs on 108 pitches on Tuesday. His slider did get five swinging strikes on 25 pitches against the Royals.

Fastball command remains a key part to Cease’s success. He only threw 26 out of 54 fastballs for strikes in his debut. Cease improved upon that with 31 strikes on 50 fastballs against the Royals.

Most of the Royals’ damage came against Cease’s fastball as well. Six of the Royals’ eight hits off Cease, including all three extra base hits, were off heaters. Cease also gave up four hits with two strikes.

There has been plenty of hype surrounding Cease since he joined the White Sox, but he hasn’t hit the ground running in the majors just yet. Having 13 days between the first two starts of his career due to the all-star break and the White Sox giving him some extra rest also isn’t the ideal scenario for a young pitcher.

Cease’s ERA is now at 5.73, which isn’t going to set the world on fire. Still, there have been enough positives in his first two starts to see where reasonable improvement could lead to Cease becoming the pitcher the White Sox expect him to be.

 

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: Next steps for the White Sox rebuild

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Next steps for the White Sox rebuild

David Haugh, Sam Panayotovich and Chris Bleck join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The Cubs deal World Series hero Mike Montgomery to the Royals for catcher Martin Maldonado. So what does that mean for Willson Contreras' injury? And who will get the majority of the playing time behind the plate?

10:30 - The guys look ahead to Dylan Cease's second Major League start and discuss what players should be dealt at the deadline to continue the White Sox rebuild.

16:00 - The Blackhawks deal Artem Anisimov to the Senators. Could this mean Kirby Dach can make the team on opening night?

18:30 - Robbie Gould won't be a Bear next season. Is the Bears Week 1 kicker currently on their roster?

20:00 - Did EA Sports diss Mitch Trubisky? DARN NATIONAL MEDIA!!!!

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: