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Adam Dunn returns, makes Cell debut

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Ozzie Guillen took a look at Adam Dunn’s contract and decided it was time.

The designated hitter returned to the White Sox’ lineup Tuesday after missing six games following an appendectomy.

Dunn batted third in the lineup, his customary spot.

“He was hungry to play,’’ Guillen said. “I figured out I love [chairman] Jerry Reinsdorf, and if this guy is sitting on the bench, he’s making a lot of money with no production.’’

It was the first U.S. Cellular Field appearance for the $56 million free agent, who said he was 100 percent.

“If I couldn’t go full force, they wouldn’t want me out there,’’ Dunn said before the game. “It’s ready to rock, ready to go. I’m anxious to get out there. I don’t have the personality to sit on the bench, knowing you can’t help the team. So hopefully I can play and have fun.”

After pulling a liner a few inches foul down the right-field line against Athletics starter Trevor Cahill, Dunn struck out on a good curveball in the first inning. He singled in his third at-bat.

Omar Vizquel started at second base and Mark Teahen at third, giving Gordon Beckham and Brent Morel a day off.

Buehrle’s limit

Guillen said Mark Buehrle was not on a pitch limit Monday, when he ended Buehrle’s night after eight innings and 99 pitches. Buehrle threw a gem and left with a 1-0 lead.

“Listen, the last three years Buehrle in the second half of the season fell down a little bit,’’ Guillen said. “It’s our job to try to keep him the best. If I don’t have any confidence in the bullpen, then Buehrle will throw 130 pitches. I had a lot of confidence in our bullpen. They’re getting paid a lot of money. Buehrle only threw 90-plus [pitches] because we’re going to need him in July, August, September.’’

Blame game

Left fielder Juan Pierre made one error in 312 total chances last season and one with the Dodgers in 2009 and still “got booed out of Los Angeles.” As a Cub in 2006, he played in 162 games without making an error, so he’s more than sound defensively — his below-average arm notwithstanding.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a defensive slump or anything like that,’’ he said of two dropped fly balls in ninth innings that factored into losses, the latest Monday night. “I would say two isolated events and hopefully no more this season. If it does, I’m prepared to take the blame for it. I’m flat-out taking the blame for these two losses.’’

Pierre was booed Monday night and was called “Pi-error” on talk radio the morning after. He apologized to reliever Matt Thornton, but Guillen said there was no need.

“If that’s the way he feels, good for Juan, but he doesn’t have to because I expect all my players on the field to make errors,’’ Guillen said. “I expect all my players on the field to make the plays.’’


Outfielder Lastings Milledge cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Class AAA Charlotte.

General manager Ken Williams said he was glad to have Milledge in the organization and talked to him about improving his defense in the minors.

† Williams said he will look within the organization to replace former director of international scouting Jerry Krause, who recently left for the Diamondbacks.

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