White Sox reportedly targeting Nationals slugger Adam Dunn

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Last week general manager Mike Rizzo said the Nationals were “looking into” a contract extension for impending free agent Adam Dunn and “have been talking about it since spring training.”
Dunn has made it clear that he’d like to remain in Washington beyond his current two-year, $20 million contract, but my sense has been that the Nationals aren’t sure if they really want to make a long-term commitment to an over-30, should-be designated hitter.
All of which is why today’s report from Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that the White Sox are pursuing a trade for Dunn is no shocker. They looked like a team in turmoil and were seemingly on the verge of selling off their own veterans just a few weeks ago, but after starting the season 24-33 the White Sox have won 15 of 18 games to pull within two games in the AL Central.
Chicago’s impressive run has been based mostly on excellent starting pitching, as the offense ranks just 10th in scoring. Production from the designated hitter spot has been particularly bad, with a rotating cast of eight different players led by Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones combining to hit just .218 with a .293 on-base percentage and .371 slugging percentage in 66 games. In other words, Dunn would be a perfect fit.
Dunn tends to be underrated by people who focus on his strikeouts and overrated by people who ignore his bad defense, but his overall production has been outstanding regardless of how often he’s made contact and moving to the AL would allow him to ditch the glove entirely. Dunn is on pace for a seventh straight year with 35-plus homers and ranks eighth in the NL with a .925 OPS that’s just slightly above his .904 career mark.
White Sox general manager Ken Williams has a long history of bold moves and adding Dunn at a spot where the team has been among the worst in baseball would make a huge impact.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.