PHOENIX (AP) – Adam Dunn isn’t just going up to the plate and hoping for the best even if it seemed that way last year.
“Whether people think so or not, I do have a plan,” said Dunn, who homered and doubled for his first two hits of the spring in the Chicago White Sox’s 6-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday. “The things I’m working on in the cage, at least right now, are working.”
Dunn is trying to rebound from a dismal first season in Chicago in which he hit .159 and had a .277 slugging percentage.
“In the spring it’s easy,” Dunn said. “There could be games where I decide I’m not going to swing until I’ve got two strikes. Today, I just wanted to see where the swing was.”
Apparently, it was in a good place. Dunn hit a towering three-run homer to right field in the first inning off Rangers’ closer-turned-starter Neftali Feliz and added a hard double to the right-center field wall in the third.
“You obviously want the results,” Dunn said. “Granted, the ball went out but I was happier with where it went out. I easily could have hooked the ball down the line and still got the run in. I very easily could have hooked it. But I liked the direction the ball went.”
Dunn began this spring training with walks in three consecutive plate appearances leading into Thursday’s game.
“I’ve gotten my walks out of the way for the spring,” Dunn said. “The first couple of games there were a lot of pitches I could have swung at. For me, it’s more important to see as many pitches as I can.
Feliz was less concerned with the results in his initial spring start than in his ability to hit his spots and keep the ball down in the strike zone.
“I’m not really focused on what happened today,” Feliz said through an interpreter. “I’m just focused on my goal. I felt like I was locating the changeup and that’s what I wanted to do.”
Unlike a year ago, when Feliz was being stretched out to start before indicating he would be happier with another year in the bullpen, this year he has come in ready from the beginning of camp ready to start.
“I feel like I’m well prepared,” said Feliz, who gave up three runs on three hits with a pair of strikeouts in two innings. “I worked on my pitches coming in and I came in more comfortable knowing I’m going to be a starter.”
White Sox starter Hector Santiago went two scoreless innings, allowing two hits, walking one and striking out three.
“He’s a bulldog out there,” said White Sox manager Robin Venture. “He doesn’t back down.”
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