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White Sox stay loose despite rash of injuries

Adam Dunn (center) draws crowd happy teammates after his two-run blast right ninth erased one-run deficit lifted Sox 6-5 victory.

Adam Dunn (center) draws a crowd of happy teammates after his two-run blast to right in the ninth erased a one-run deficit and lifted the Sox to a 6-5 victory. | Getty Images

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Updated: June 25, 2014 6:17AM

In the hours leading up to the Sox’ game against the Yankees on Friday at U.S. Cellular Field, the home clubhouse wasn’t abuzz with players trading baseball acumen.

The focus was on the much-­lower-stakes subject of racing remote-control cars, which did nothing to suggest that the outcome of the game would be a dramatic 6-5 victory by the Sox. The clincher came on Adam Dunn’s two-run walk-off homer with no outs in the ninth off Yankees closer David Robertson.

But it stood as an example of how loose this team has remained despite a rash of injuries that should have the team’s training staff screaming to get paid overtime. Sox players have missed a combined 186 games. Avisail Garcia is out for the season.

Manager Robin Ventura credits the clubhouse demeanor to veterans such as Paul Konerko and Dunn, which made sense because on Friday, hero-to-be Dunn seemed loosest of all. So much so that his concern wasn’t with facing Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, but centered on a broken wheel on his remote-control car.

The damaged car landed in the locker of catcher Tyler Flowers, who doubles as the team “mechanic” and has a backpack full of spare parts.

“It probably helps with that ­relationship, especially with the number of youngs we have,” Flowers said. “I mean, we still have a few rookies, not like we did last year when we had all those rookies, but it kind of opens up those lines of communications almost, it kind of breaks that barrier.”

Dunn’s car was wrecked in a crash while drag racing with Chris Sale’s remote-control car. The outcome left the Sox’ ace boasting about the sturdiness of his racer. It was fitting because this was a day in which Sale felt confident about his durability after throwing a six-inning gem in Thursday’s victory against the Yankees. The day after Sale pitched for the first time since April 17, he reported feeling only the typical soreness after a start.

“It’s not fun watching your team play without you, having other people do your job for you and not really being able to pull your own weight,” Sale said. “I don’t have much weight to pull, but I still like to do my part.”

Ventura was quick to point out that getting Sale back should make a clubhouse feel upbeat. But at the same time, this team never has been overly serious.

“They’ve been loose, they’ve been that way since spring training,” Ventura said. “You also have guys that were young last year that were here and that are a little more secure in themselves and what they bring to the table.”

NOTE: Sox first baseman Jose Abreu will remain in a walking boot for three more days, during which the slugger will continue to rehab the tendonitis in his left ankle. He expects to be ready when he is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on June 2.

“I’m going to have to make some adjustments,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “It’s not about losing some games, it’s about the season. I want to make sure I’m healthy throughout the season.”


Twitter: @SethGruen

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