Adam Dunn on hitting slump: ‘This is ridiculous’
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org May 25, 2011 12:20AM
Juan Pierre is tagged out by Rangers first baseman Michael Young in the first inning. | Ronald Martinez~Getty Images
Updated: June 26, 2011 12:34AM
ARLINGTON, Texas — June is around the corner, and Adam Dunn still is fighting his way through a prolonged slump.
Dunn, who had three hits in his last nine games before Tuesday and was 0-for-30 against left-handers this season, was dropped from third to fifth as the designated hitter in manager Ozzie Guillen’s batting order against Texas Rangers lefty Derek Holland. Dunn homered in the sixth inning off Brett Tomko. Guillen says he’ll give Dunn today off.
‘‘I would like to blame it on swinging at bad pitches, but I’m not doing that,’’ Dunn said. ‘‘I’m swinging at good pitches. It seems like I’m taking the balls and swinging at strikes and still fouling them off. Just have to keep battling.’’
One of the most prolific home-run hitters in baseball, Dunn had only four homers while batting .189 with an American League-leading 60 strikeouts going into play Tuesday. He has been in slumps before, ‘‘but not like this,’’ he said. ‘‘This is ridiculous.’’
Dunn even has changed bat models, a first for him, he said. And he changed his bat color to black, another sign of desperation.
‘‘I’ve pulled out all the stops for you guys,’’ he said.
Guillen is worried that Dunn’s struggles will get into his head.
‘‘I just try to help him relax a little bit,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘I think he [has started] worrying. My job is to put him in the best spot to have some success. Hopefully he’ll get some hits [Tuesday] and that [will] help him on the day off to clear his mind and go back at it.’’
Dunn said his $56 million contract isn’t adding pressure.
‘‘No, I’m not worried about that,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s nothing. It gets to a point where the embarrassment factor puts more pressure and stuff on it than anything else.’’
Juan Pierre, who led the majors with 68 stolen bases last season, hadn’t stolen a base since May 3. And that steal followed a string of 10 games without one.
‘‘I haven’t run like I want to; you have to have situations to go in,’’ said Pierre, who was 6-for-14 stealing. ‘‘You have to take the context of the game and what the defense gives you into consideration. I am realizing that now because I want to get going, get going. I have to be patient and not just go run wild.’’
Pierre said he expects his running game to improve with his hitting. He took an eight-game hitting streak into the game Tuesday and was 15-for-42 (.357) in his last 12 games.
‘‘Just been finding some holes,’’ he said. ‘‘Been swinging at better pitches, getting myself in better hitting counts, not fouling balls off and putting more balls in play aggressively. The last week or so, I have been feeling more comfortable.’’
It’s not out of the question that Phil Hu mber (3-3, 3.10), who has the lowest ERA among Sox starters, could be the odd man out when the Sox trim their rotation to five. He has recent experience in the bullpen and could flex into a spot start.
‘‘Whatever they tell me to do, I will do the best I can with it,’’ Humber said.