‘One stupid year’ — Adam Dunn ready to put 2011 behind him
by daryl van schouwen email@example.com January 24, 2012 8:42PM
Sox hitter Adam Dunn flies out in the 8th inning in the White Sox' 3-2 win over the Cubs in game two of the Crosstown Classic between the host Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs Tuesday June 21, 2011 at US Cellular Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: February 26, 2012 8:15AM
Adam Dunn vowed he wouldn’t talk about last season once it was over. He wanted to go home to his new house near Houston and put the unfathomable .159 average and 177 strikeouts in his rearview mirror as quickly as possible.
It wasn’t that easy.
“At the end of the season, my deal was to remove myself completely from it,’’ Dunn said by telephone Tuesday, “but I found that I couldn’t. For a week and a half, I removed myself from everything, but it’s hard to remove yourself from your job. That’s your job. I didn’t do it like I thought I would do, but that’s good. I feel great. I’m fine. It’s over.’’
As painful as it was for Sox fans to watch, believe Dunn when he tells you it was worse for him. To his credit, he took the public beatings like a pro. No excuses, no hiding from the media, no finger-pointing.
As the Sox’ high hopes coincided with Dunn’s failures, there was no escaping the stunning results for one of the most prolific power hitters of all time. In 2010, Dunn batted .260 with 38 home runs, a career-high 36 doubles and 103 RBI for the Washington Nationals. Only Albert Pujols, Eddie Mathews and Ralph Kiner hit more home runs in their first 10 seasons than Dunn.
“Everything I’ve done my entire life has been discredited by one stupid year,’’ said Dunn, 32, who hit only 11 homers and drove in 42 runs in 2011. “Maybe discredited is not the word, but that’s kind of how I feel.
“I don’t want to make excuses. There are a few things that I probably look back on and say, ‘I shouldn’t have done this or that,’ a few things I probably would have done a little differently, but it’s over with. I can’t take it back. I don’t want to say anything that would sound like excuses. That’s the last thing I want because there are no excuses. I should have been able to get out of it, and I couldn’t.’’
Dunn, who had never hit during the offseason before this one, said he’s hitting four times a week.
But there’s no truth to a rumor making the rounds that Dunn will show up at SoxFest this weekend 30 pounds lighter. Dunn’s offseason workout routine hasn’t changed drastically, although he has worked out more because his new home is closer to a facility.
“I don’t stand on the scale in front of the mirror or anything like that,’’ Dunn said.
“I’ve been swinging the bat a little bit and doing things [working out] I’ve always done, just a little more. One of my buddies is a former minor-league guy who likes to go over there and see if he can still throw. I wouldn’t say I’m hitting five days a week. Some weeks we’ll go four times; some weeks we won’t go at all.
“I just know that my body feels good. I feel healthy. I feel great. I’m ready to get back. I’m just ready to get going.’’
Dunn hasn’t spoken with new manager Robin Ventura, who figures to have the more conventional style Dunn was used to before he came to the Sox last offseason.
“I’ve never had a manager like Ozzie [Guillen],’’ Dunn said. ‘‘No one has ever had a manager like Ozzie. It’s going to be different. I don’t know how Robin is going to be, but I would imagine he’ll probably be more of a traditional manager. Not to say it was bad; it was just different. This will be something I’m more accustomed to as opposed to somebody like Ozzie, you know. There’s only one Ozzie.’’
Ventura has hinted that Dunn, who made the transition to designated hitter last season, will see more games in the field, perhaps at first base and left field. Defense is not Dunn’s strong suit, but he’ll do whatever he’s asked.
“I’m fine with whatever,’’ he said. “I’ll be ready.’’