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Offseason routine may explain Adam Dunn’s slump with White Sox

Adam Dunn says he might start hitting during offseasnow th 
facility is more conveniently located near his home.  |

Adam Dunn says he might start hitting during the offseason now that a facility is more conveniently located near his home. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 2, 2011 12:44AM

The White Sox’ Adam Dunn never has hit during the offseason, and it hasn’t been an issue. Why would it be?

Dunn went into this season trailing only Albert Pujols among baseball’s home-run leaders since 2004.

Only when he didn’t hit during the season were questions raised about how Dunn spends his winter vacations. A 10-year veteran, the 31-year-old Dunn bristled at the notion that he doesn’t work out in the offseason. The 6-6, 285-pounder is no fitness buff, but he says he does his offseason work.

‘‘I always work out, I just never hit,’’ he said.

But that might change for Dunn, who easily is having his worst season batting .163 with 10 home runs. His family’s new home near Houston is closer to a facility that would make it more convenient than it has been in the past.

‘‘I don’t know — that’s a long way away,’’ Dunn said when asked if he will pick up a bat next offseason. ‘‘I’m going to say yes, and the reason why I say yes is I moved closer to where people do hit in the offseason. I probably will hit a little before spring training just to do it.’’

The thing is, what Dunn always has done has worked. He picks up a bat for the first time during spring training and usually finds his swing a week or two before Opening Day.

That’s what happened this year. Then he homered on Opening Day and went 4-for-15 with five RBI and three runs scored in his first four games before an emergency appendectomy sidelined him for six days. Other circumstances factored in — first time as designated hitter, new league, new city — but Dunn never got untracked when he returned.

Since before the All-Star break, Dunn has looked and felt better at the plate. He appears to be turning a corner. Fingers are crossed.

‘‘He’s swinging better,’’ hitting coach Greg Walker said. ‘‘He was swinging better before the break.’’

Dunn took two days off in Kansas City last week, in part because left-handers were pitching but also to rest a sore knee. But the knee is not an issue. Nor is his workout routine, he said.

‘‘I feel good body-wise,’’ Dunn said. ‘‘I feel fine. What I do in the offseason and what I do during the season is fine. Nothing hurts. Some little stupid stuff, but it’s not like it’s anything physical. I feel great — using my lower half a lot more. I feel like me. I feel normal.’’

Walker will discuss offseason plans with all of his hitters at the end of the season.

‘‘Right now we’re concentrating on the right now,’’ said Walker, who likes what he’s seeing from Dunn right now. “But every player is ultimately responsible for what they do. That’s just the way it works.’’

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