Adam Dunn won’t worry about his Ks, and neither should you

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Adam Dunn strikes out a lot. Everyone knows that.

The Chicago White Sox designated hitter has whiffed more than 1,600 times in 10 seasons, including 199 times in 2010. And he’s continuing to strike out quite a bit this spring – 22 times in just 53 at-bats.

So is there reason for White Sox fans to be concerned?

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen certainly isn’t worried, telling Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune that he’s more focused on keeping players healthy than how they perform at this stage of spring training.

That makes perfect sense. Strikeouts are just part of the Adam Dunn package. It’s a package that also includes a ton of home runs (282 since 2004), a ton of walks (750 in the same period) and a career OPS of .902. In the case of Dunn, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

For his part, Dunn is fully aware of his critics.

“There’s nobody that hates it more than me I promise you,” he told me during a recent interview at the White Sox’s spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz. “It’s not something you get used to. It’s so hard to explain because I do like to take pitches, which gets me walks but also gets me in bad counts. It’s hard to hit with two strikes in this league. If I didn’t take as many pitches I probably wouldn’t strike out as much, but then I probably wouldn’t get on base as much. I can’t find a happy medium, it seems like.”

Dunn, who will be a primary DH this season for the first time in his career, pointed out that not all strikeouts should be viewed the same way, and that sometimes, depending on the situation, he will go for broke at the plate.

“What’s the difference with two outs, nobody on, if you fly out to the wall or strike out? It’s still an out, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “Now, if you have a man in scoring position, especially a man on third with less than two outs, and you strike out, that’s terrible. That’s a bad strikeout.”

Dunn, who reminds one a bit of Will Ferrell, both for his size and hair, plus his wise-cracking demeanor, then promised to take our little talk to heart in the upcoming season.

“I’ve gone through every scenario,” he deadpanned. “This year I’m going to focus on swinging the bat more, and it all falls back to this interview. Whatever.”

With Dunn, what you see is what you get. White Sox fans should enjoy it.

You can follow Bob on Twitter, and get all your HBT updates here.

Watch: Mike Trout ties MLB record with his 25th home run

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It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:

In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.

Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.

Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.

Blue Jays acquire Tom Koehler from Marlins

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The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.

The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.

Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.