Sunday, April 10, 2011
Posted: 2:18 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
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.