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White Sox’ Adam Dunn, Alex Rios showing signs of life at plate

Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski pitcher GavFloyd had trouble holding runners third inning. | Hannah Foslien~Getty Images

Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and pitcher Gavin Floyd had trouble holding runners on in the third inning. | Hannah Foslien~Getty Images

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Updated: October 16, 2011 12:17AM

MINNEAPOLIS ­— Edwin Jackson will oppose the Diamondbacks’ Daniel Hudson on Friday in a matchup of pitchers traded for each other at last season’s trading deadline.

Asked if he would ask general manager Ken Williams for something at the July 31 deadline, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had a ready answer.

“I need Alex Rios and Adam Dunn to start hitting,’’ Guillen said. “I’m not going to say we need this or that after we spent a lot of money to set this ballclub up [during the offseason]. Assume they’re going to do what they’re supposed to do. When these guys get hot for a little while, then we go for it.’’

Dunn and Rios are showing signs. Rios, who over the weekend raised his hands from below his hip in what was an unusual stance, is 6-for-18 in his last five games. Dunn was a respectable 3-for-12 with two home runs and six RBI against the Athletics last weekend.

“Rios is swinging the bat better,’’ Guillen said. “Dunn, he’s not too far away to click. Hopefully [not taking batting practice] won’t get to him.’’

Stop, thief

The Sox are ramping up their amount of pregame early work. Pitchers and catchers continue to focus on trying to improve their defense against the stolen base.

“Well, we do more than usual because we try to take care of the running game — slide steps, throw over, pitching out,’’ Guillen said. “You do a lot in spring training, but during the season, everyone goes a different way.’’

The Sox have been better lately, but Michael Cuddyer’s stolen base in the first inning — the 57th in 71 attempts against the Sox —wasn’t pretty. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski couldn’t glove a low-and-away slider from Gavin Floyd, and the pitch went to the backstop.

Ben Revere and Alexi Casilla pulled off a double steal against Floyd and Pierzynski in the third, setting up a two-run single by Delmon Young that gave the Twins a 3-0 lead.

“The first two months, people were running all over the place,’’ Guillen said. “We have to make sure those guys know what we want, how we’re going to handle it.’’

With a day off Monday, a rainout Tuesday and cancellation of batting practice Wednesday because of rain, the Sox went into the game not having seen live pitching since Sunday. Dunn, making his first visit to Target Field, was particularly bummed out about the pregame rain and joked about squeezing in a few swings with the Twins, who got their hacks in before the rain.

“Especially when you go on the road, you want a feel,’’ Guillen said. “But you can do nothing about it. I’d rather the team hit on the field than in the cage. I’m not a big fan of the cage.’’


Jake Peavy (groin) and Tony Pena (elbow) begin rehab assignments with Class AAA Charlotte today. Peavy will start and hopes to return to the Sox next week, although Guillen was noncommittal.

“That’s up to how he feels, how many pitches he throws . . . and how hard he went through it,’’ Guillen said. “There will be a lot of things that they watch to see how many days he’ll be down there.’’

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