Adam Dunn was as bad as a previously excellent hitter could possibly be last season, batting .159 while moving down the lineup and then eventually to the bench, but new White Sox manager Robin Ventura is wiping the slate clean.
Not only is Ventura committed to playing Dunn every day, he’ll begin the season batting third in the White Sox’s lineup.
Obviously if Dunn performs anything like he did last season he has no business being anywhere near the middle of the lineup, but Ventura correctly noted that if Dunn turns things around his skill set is a good fit in the No. 3 spot:
He gets on base a lot. Even though he might strike out a little bit, he does walk a lot. To me, that’s a good thing in front of Paul [Konerko].
And he’s absolutely right, as Dunn has a .374 career on-base percentage and has gotten 13 percent of his career playing time as a No. 3 hitter, although it won’t matter if he doesn’t get back on track in a big way. He’s hit .255 with a .415 on-base percentage and .569 slugging percentage this spring, which is exactly what Dunn’s numbers look like when he’s playing well.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.