Adam Dunn happy to be back home in Houston
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com June 14, 2013 11:25PM
Chicago White Sox v Houston Astros
Updated: July 16, 2013 6:37AM
HOUSTON — Mood-wise, Adam Dunn touched his season high before the White Sox opened a four-game series against the lowly Astros with a 2-1 loss.
With eight hits, including four home runs, and seven RBI over his previous four games, the beleaguered slugger was having one of his better spurts of an up-and-down year. And he was in the middle of a five-day stay with his wife and three kids at his home, which is about a half-hour drive from Minute Maid Park.
He also squeezed in a round of golf Friday morning.
“Seeing people you haven’t seen in a while, sleeping in your own bed,’’ Dunn said. “When you’re not home for a while, to come home for five days is pretty cool. You need a little mental break once in a while, and I can’t think of a better place to have one than at home in familiar surroundings.’’
That mood was tempered after another disheartening loss — Chris Sale’s 14-strikeout performance went for naught — but when the Sox’ scheduled game against Toronto at U.S. Cellular Field was called off early Wednesday afternoon, Dunn happily jumped on a plane with fellow Houston guy Jesse Crain and was home by 6. Thursday was a day off.
“It was almost like I called for the rainstorm,’’ Dunn said. “I did my rain dance. I’m not going to lie.’’
Dunn’s outlook on baseball and life is worth watching because he repeated Friday what he has said since 2011 — that he will quit when the game is no longer fun, and you wonder what this roller-coaster ride is doing to his system. Dunn was down in 2011, up in 2012 and mostly down this season, although he ranks fourth in the American League with 16 homers and has driven in a team-high 38 runs.
“It’s been very weird,’’ he said Friday. “RBI are OK. The runs scored  are not OK. The on-base [.282] is obviously pathetic. Two of those would be pretty easy to fix and get back on track.’’
There’s a huge amount of hope that Dunn will inject life into an offense that’s as drab as the team’s road grays. Dunn said his plate discipline is better of late, so maybe there is cause for optimism.
“I don’t think I’m swinging any different,’’ said Dunn, whose sacrifice fly produced the Sox’ only run. “The difference is I’m swinging at better pitches, and the balls I’m supposed to be hitting hard, I’m hitting hard, and I’m not fouling them off. I’m not trying to do too much. A lot of times when I’m feeling good, I try to hit a six-run home run with one swing, and the last time I’ve done that is never.’’
“He went through periods where he was swinging no matter what,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “Now he’s got a better idea of the strike zone, and confidence-wise, it just seems like he’s better going to the plate right now.’’
Right now, the game is fun for Dunn, whose positive outlook helps keep it that way. His contract is up after next season, and Dunn, 33, says it’s possible he’ll be done when it runs out.
“I can’t sit here and say 100 percent I’ll definitely play,’’ he said. “But if I feel like I do now, 100 percent [I will]. There’s nothing else I can do. Or want to do.’’
So this is still fun?
“Oh, yeah,’’ Dunn said. ‘‘I wouldn’t be here at 3 o’clock if it wasn’t. It’s still fun. The fun part is not now; the fun part is at 7. I don’t love cage work or batting practice or sitting around. That’s the work part of it. The game is the fun part. Playing, it’s the best.’’