CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 1: Adam Dunn #32 of the Chicago White Sox hits an RBI single during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on October 1, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND — Adam Dunn came back too soon from a strained oblique, then played through discomfort his second time back, but the slugging designated hitter/first baseman made no excuses.
“A lot of people are banged up,’’ said Dunn, who sat out the last game of the season Wednesday. “If you aren’t, you probably didn’t play too much or didn’t play hard enough.’’
During a period around the All-Star break, Dunn quietly dealt with a rib that slipped out of place, an issue he kept quiet because he didn’t want to sound like an excuse-maker. Dunn attended but didn’t play in the All-Star Game because of it.
Dunn finished the season batting .204 with 41 homers and 96 RBI after his horrendous first season with the Sox in 2011 (.159, 11 homers). He batted .199 with 16 homers and 35 RBI in the second half and finished with 222 strikeouts, one shy of Mark Reynolds’ strikeout record, so he doesn’t consider 2012 a whopping success.
“I had some opportunities to win some games or blow some games open and wasn’t able to do it,’’ he said.
Who’s on third?
Third baseman Kevin Youkilis batted .236 with 15 homers and 46 RBI in 80 games for the Sox, who will likely buy out his contract for $1 million rather than pick up his $13 million option.
Youkilis, 33, on Wednesday called his White Sox experience “a good life experience.’’ He sounded more like a player headed elsewhere, though.
“The whole thing is a business,’’ he said. “Sometimes it’s out of your control. So that’s part of the game, and I learned that this year [being traded from Boston]. For me personally, I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had a lot of fun. It’s great for my family in Cincinnati to come up [to Chicago] and watch. But the future, who knows what’s going to happen?’’
General manager Ken Williams, who had to trade for Youkilis because of Brent Morel’s back injury, would be less tempted to woo Youkilis back knowing Morel’s status.
“Hopefully he fits as a healthy Brent Morel,’’ Williams said. “So we can see what he’s all about and what he brings to a ballclub because he’s a pretty good player. But at this point, I couldn’t [say what Morel’s status is] without seeing him on the field in spring training.”
This and that
Rookie left-hander Hector Santiago might pitch in the Puerto Rican League for the fifth straight winter. Santiago, who was 4-1 with a 3.33 ERA with 79 strikeouts over 711/3 innings, finished with seven scoreless innings Monday and is a candidate for a spot in the rotation next year. He said he wants to focus on throwing first-pitch strikes in winter ball.
◆ Robin Ventura had the most victories (85) for a Sox manager in his first season since Gene Lamont in 1992 (86).
◆ The Sox’ winning record was their seventh in the last 10 seasons.
◆ Jake Peavy ranked third in the AL with 23 quality starts.