By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) The world of Adam Dunn is never dull. One minute he is talking about playing time in 2014, the next flying to to the Academy Awards presentation in Los Angeles next Sunday.
Dunn has been the center of media conversation this offseason, and the White Sox said his at-bats may be impacted by the team’s new personnel.
Dunn, who will be playing in the last season of a back-loaded $56-million, four-year deal, will make $15 million in 2014. The White Sox have talked trades with numerous teams involving the 34-year-old Texas native since the end of the 2013 campaign. At one point, the Houston Astros seemed most interested in acquiring Dunn.
There is also a caution sign that the Sox have to consider in moving forward without a power hitter from the left side in their evolving lineup.
For now, Dunn has been taking fly balls in left field and adjusting to the idea he may have to share at-bats with the iconic Paul Konerko in the DH role.
“I am going about it right now like I do every spring, planning on having 700 at-bats,” Dunn said. “If I go out and do what I am capable of doing, it won ‘t matter. Whatever is going to help us win, I am in. If I am not swinging it good and everyone else is, I will sit and watch. I don’t plan on that happening.”
There has been speculation that Dunn may retire after 2014. That thought is tempered by the player’s burning desire to play on a playoff contender, as Dunn hasn’t sniffed a postseason game in his 12-year major league career.
“As of right now, today, yeah I want to play (beyond 2014),” Dunn said. “I plan on coming (back). Again I could go out there today and say I am done. I don’t see that happening today.”
Dunn is keenly aware of the young group of players that the team has started to assemble since last summer.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out there are a lot of guys that have the ability and talent to play (here),” Dunn said. “It is not like I am thinking I will play once or twice a week. I will be ready to play 162 plus games We don ‘t control what happens, except on the field. I will not be any different … What is important is we avoid last year’s (99-loss) debacle.”
Dunn has an automatic invite to the Academy Awards after being invested in a nominated movie. He will have a plane waiting after practice if he decides to go Sunday.
“I don’t know yet,” he said when asked if he’ll go. “We have to figure it out. Realistically, how many times do you get to do something like this? I have done a lot of cool things, but this certainly would be one of them.”
Dunn said if it is an issue at all with Sox officials, he won’t go. Dunn would be back for Monday’s workout and game.
Bruce Levine is a baseball reporter/analyst for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.