Expect Adam Dunn to get spring work at first base and at left field
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter February 20, 2014 9:06PM
Updated: March 22, 2014 6:39AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — When the Sox took to the back fields for their first full-squad workout on Thursday, Jose Abreu worked at first base alongside Paul Konerko.
Gordon Beckham and Leury Garcia worked at second base, Alexei Ramirez and Marcus Semien were at shortstop and Jeff Keppinger, Conor Gillaspie and Matt Davidson at third base.
Draw no conclusions from Day 1, which had Adam Dunn at first on an adjacent field. Dunn will also get work in left field, manager Robin Ventura said, which seemed peculiar considering that that position is already crowded with Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo and that Dunn is a below-average left fielder.
Chalk it up to Ventura’s desire for flexibility. And if you want to remind National League general managers that Dunn can play left in a pinch — should the Sox explore trades for Dunn, De Aza or Viciedo any time before the July 31 deadline — go ahead.
For now, Ventura said playing Dunn in left is more about keeping him active.
“You move Adam around, throw him in the outfield, let him run around and get some work in,’’ Ventura said. “For right now, down here, he does [play some left field]. There will be opportunities for moving around, mixing and matching. “[With Dunn] you have to start here first. He’s done it in the past where he has gone in left in interleague games but most of it is to get some work down here.’’
Dunn, 34, is entering the fourth year of his four-year, $56 million contract. While batting .214, he led the Sox with 34 homers and 86 RBI but was still a victim of boo-birds at U.S. Cellular Field, where he got off to a bad start with fans when he batted .159 with 11 homers during his first year as a Sox in 2011. The fans had little to be happy about last year when the team lost 99 games.
Dunn, an easy-going clubhouse leader, said his goal is to make the postseason for the first time. And he just wants baseball to be fun again.
“It’s a lot easier when you’re out there having fun, relaxed, not looking up at the scoreboard every two seconds to see what your batting average is,’’ Dunn said. “It’s baseball. We’re not building rockets for NASA, it’s baseball.’’