Adam Dunn leaves with back spasms as Sox fall to Angels
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com May 18, 2013 10:15PM
Updated: June 20, 2013 4:52PM
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Of all the maddening things that contributed to a 12-9 loss to the Los Angeles Angels that halted the White Sox’ winning streak at four games Saturday, the worst was seeing Adam Dunn leave because of back spasms.
While Dunn downplayed the injury, which he suffered bending over in the batter’s box before he sharply singled in two runs in the fourth inning to give the Sox a 4-0 lead, backs issues are never good. Especially for a 260-pound man.
Dunn talked as though he would be back in the lineup Sunday if he is able to bend over and play defense, but manager Robin Ventura was skeptical.
“I hope so,’’ Ventura said when asked if the issue was minor. “Right now, he thinks it is. He always thinks that way. As of right now, it’s day-to-day.’’
Dunn tried coming back too soon from an appendectomy two years ago and from an oblique strain last year. Both situations set him back, so expect the Sox to be cautious with this one.
As bad luck would have it, Dunn got hurt just as he was coming out of a seasonlong slump. In his last five games, he has eight hits in 19 at-bats with four homers and 10 RBI.
“When I got on first, I never really had muscle spasms before, so I really didn’t know what it was,’’ he said. “But Paulie [Konerko] hit the ball, and I almost fell down running to second.
“If it feels like it does now, we’ll see [about Sunday]. But I’m sure it’s going to feel a lot better. It’s a muscle. It has to release at some point.”
By no coincidence, the Sox came to life during Dunn’s hot streak. They died a slow death Saturday, though, leaving six runners on in the first three innings against winless Joe Blanton and losing despite a season-high 17 hits. The Sox left 12 runners on base.
Starter Hector Santiago, staked to a 4-0 lead, couldn’t finish the fourth, and relievers Nate Jones, Donnie Veal and Matt Lindstrom were ineffective, too. They allowed a combined 10 walks, which translated to a season-high 12 runs allowed. Santiago walked four, and the others two apiece.
Before Dunn left, the Sox were on their way to getting within a game of .500, and Dunn looked as if he was on one of those streaks in which he carries the team. He had raised his hands in his stance and gotten good results.
“The hands have definitely helped, but [raising them] consequently cleaned up his bottom half,’’ Manto said before the game. “He has a better base. When he’s making outs to left-center field and he’s taking his walks, it’s a sure sign things are about to turn for him.’’
Manto disagreed with the notion that Dunn has lost bat speed since coming to the Sox before the 2011 season.
“I don’t think he’s lost his bat speed at all,’’ Manto said. “His bat path has actually gotten better. People will look at a hitter and say, ‘He has a slow bat,’ but, no, it’s in the zone a long time. You look at [the Angels’ Albert] Pujols and say his swing is not that fast. No, it’s not, it’s in the zone a long time. That’s the same thing with Adam. He has a real good path working. It appears to be slow, but it’s not slow.’’
The Sox only can hope Dunn has his stroke back when he returns to the lineup.