White Sox

Should we be optimistic about Adam Dunn?

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Should we be optimistic about Adam Dunn?

It's a rite of passage every March: Player X puts up great numbers in the Cactus League, and they're discounted because it's spring training. Player Y puts up terrible numbers in the Grapefruit league, and they're discounted because it's spring training.

Most of the time, those dismissals are valid. Brian Anderson was an excellent hitter in March, but it never carried over to the regular season -- and that's why he's trying his hand at pitching. Similarly, Freddy Garcia was generally a pretty bad spring training pitcher, but when Opening Day rolled around his varying assortment of slop wound up being fairly effective.

Just a quick glance at Chris Kamka's 10 spring training facts reveals how random and generally unimportant spring training statistics are. There are exceptions to the rule, though, and this year, Adam Dunn is one of them.

Before spring training started, I wrote about the importance for Dunn to build a base of success given the miserable results he saw in 2011 after his appendix was removed. Dunn has gone above and beyond that base of success in the last month, hitting five home runs with 13 walks and nine strikeouts in 19 games.

Those home runs haven't been spring training cheapies, either. One came on a two-strike offering from Rangers flamethrower Neftali Feliz. But, more importantly, three have come against lefties. No matter the quality of the pitcher, Dunn couldn't hit southpaws last year, registering just six hits in 115 trips to the plate.

As Chuck Garfien pointed out, Dunn has six hits against left-handers this spring. His strikeouts are down, telling us he's no longer overmatched. Had Dunn not endured the 2011 season, his spring training numbers would probably be business as usual.

Dunn wants 2011 to go away. It's not a subject he's wanted to talk about with the media -- and who can blame him -- instead opting to center his discussions around 2012. But the specter of 2011 will continue to hover over his 2012 season whether he likes it or not. There are plenty of reasons to think Dunn will carry this success over into the regular season, but it's understandable if White Sox fans can't get fully behind a Dunn resurgence just yet.

Spring training has been an outstanding step in the right direction for Dunn. But ultimately, he still has to prove he can hit in a White Sox uniform in the regular season.

Luckily, we'll begin to find out if that'll be the case this week.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: White Sox get a big come-from-behind win thanks to José Abreu

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: White Sox get a big come-from-behind win thanks to José Abreu

David Haugh, Jim Litke and Luke Stuckmeyer join David Kaplan on the panel.

0:00- The White Sox get a big come-from-behind win thanks to José Abreu. With signs of light at the end of rebuilding tunnel, should the Sox go for wins now or continue to focus on the future? The panel debates.

15:00- Will Perdue joins the panel to preview NBA free agency and who the Bulls should target when it all begins Sunday.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Craziest game of the season? This was it

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Craziest game of the season? This was it

It was a game that had just about everything: five runs off Chris Sale, Jon Jay scoring from second on an infield single, a game-winning home run by Jose Abreu in the ninth, and so many other crazy things in between.

Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey, Chris Kamka and Vinnie Duber break it all down. Abreu's heroics and how Scott Podsednik predicted it (2:00), the wizardry of these White Sox and their record (6:10), Yoan Moncada takes himself out of the game after getting hit on the knee by a Chris Sale pitch (10:30), Jon Jay's heads-up dash for home (15:10), Tim Anderson's ankle injury (21:20), what roster changes are coming (24:00) and more.

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White Sox Talk Podcast

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