Adam Dunn lauds Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto for keeping the faith
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org July 3, 2013 10:24PM
Chicago White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie misses a foul ball hit by Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
The facts: 1:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM.
The starters: Zach Britton (2-2, 4.50 ERA) vs. Jose Quintana (3-2, 3.97).
Updated: August 5, 2013 6:41PM
Adam Dunn is thankful now that White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto wasn’t a yes man while he was struggling.
“When things weren’t going too good the first couple of months he kept doing the same drills, and when I wanted to change things up he really wouldn’t let me do it,’’ Dunn said Wednesday, “because he knew I was in a good position.’’
Manto’s persistence is paying off. In the last 21 games through Tuesday, Dunn raised his average to .199 by hitting .315 with a .427 on-base percentage and 1.130 OPS. During that span, he hit nine homers and drove in 23 runs. He collected his 55th RBI with a two-out double in the first against the Baltimore Orioles’ Scott Feldman on Wednesday and went 1-for-4 on the night.
“I’ve had a lot of hitting coaches in my career, minor leagues and majors,’’ Dunn said. “The good ones never stop trying to figure out what’s going on when it’s going bad, and when it’s going good they know how to keep it going. He’s one of, if not the hardest-working hitting coach I’ve had. He gets all the credit.’’
When the Sox quickly established themselves at the bottom of most offensive categories in the American League, Manto’s effectiveness was questioned.
‘‘Oh, yeah. It comes with the territory,’’ Dunn said. “But he does everything above and beyond what the job description is. After the game he’s in the cage working with people. He’s available 24/7. He’s in the cage now, probably been there since 1 o’clock. It’s a shame things have turned out the way they have because he’s one of the good ones.’’
Cup at Cell
Blackhawks Patrick Sharp and Brandon Bollig brought the Stanley Cup for a ceremony before the game against the Orioles. Sharp and Bollig threw ceremonial first pitches.
The last time the Stanley Cup was present at U.S. Cellular Field was in 2010 with coach Joel Quenneville, when the Sox hosted “Champions Night,” and all four major sports trophies — the Stanley Cup, Lombardi Trophy (NFL), Larry O’Brien Trophy (NBA) and Commissioner’s Trophy (MLB) — were present.
“It’s nice having it paraded around town,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “Everybody likes seeing it. They should take that thing everywhere and run it around.’’
Ventura said Jeff Keppinger, who was the designated hitter on Wednesday, will play more with Paul Konerko on the disabled list. Outfielder Jordan Danks “will probably get a few more opportunities’’ as well.
Keppinger, who doubled in the second inning, was hitting .351 in his last 27 games through Tuesday. Before going 0-for-4 and re-aggravating his back Tuesday, Konerko had safely in seven consecutive games with a homer and five RBI.
This and that
Alex Rios collected the 200th stolen base of his career during the first inning, and it was a worthwhile steal at that. With two outs, Rios got into scoring position for Dunn by swiping his 15th base.
◆ Left-hander David Purcey, who joined the team and was added to the 40-man roster, had been named to pitch in the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 17 in Reno, Nev. Purcey, 32, was 0-2 with a 3.03 ERA at Charlotte. Catcher Josh Phegley also was picked for the game. Phegley is batting .316 with 14 homers, 18 doubles and 40 RBI.