By Adam Hoge-
U.S. CELLULAR FIELD (CBS) When the White Sox show up at Wrigley Field Friday, they are going to have a new left fielder.
Manager Robin Ventura confirmed Tuesday that Adam Dunn is currently scheduled to start in left field for all three games at Wrigley Field this weekend.
“He’s always in the middle of things when it’s happening offensively and that’s a sign of a guy who’s important in your lineup,” Ventura said.
Dunn hasn’t played left field since July 27, 2009 when he was a member of the Washington Nationals, but the White Sox can’t afford to lose him or first baseman Paul Konerko in the lineup, especially with the Cubs scheduled to start Jeff Samardzija Friday and Ryan Dempster Saturday.
Dunn is currently hitting .250 with a 1.003 OPS and his offensive value clearly overrides the risk of putting him in the outfield. He started two games in right field for the White Sox last season, including a game at Wrigley Field in which he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, but that game came in the midst of his awful 2011 campaign and he’s clearly a different player now.
Asked Tuesday if he was more surprised by Dunn’s struggles in 2011 or the way he has bounced back this year, Ventura said:
“I would say last year. A guy that has done what he has done over the course of his career, I mean it’s happened to players every once in a while, you just don’t expect that. You expect what he’s doing right now.”
Despite Dunn’s success – his batting average, OBP, slugging and OPS are all above his career averages – the slugger still thinks he is getting himself out too much. He currently leads the league with 53 strikeouts.
“I think that’s just part of being competitive,” Ventura said. “Even though people look at last year and are happy with where he’s at right now, the way he is, he wants to do better, which is great.”
Dunn obviously can’t get better if he’s sitting on the bench. That means not only can you expect him to be in left field for all three games at Wrigley Field this weekend, but you can expect him to be back out there when the team goes on a six-game road trip to play the Cardinals and Dodgers June 12-17.
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