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.
With last Wednesday’s start against the Yankees, Mariners hurler Hisashi Iwakuma pushed his 2016 innings total up to 2016. That clears the 162-inning hurdle for his 2017 option to vest at $14 million. However, as Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors reports, the language in Iwakuma’s contract also stipulates that the right-hander finish the season without suffering a specific injury.
Iwakuma, 35, was in agreement with the Dodgers on a three-year contract back in December but failed the physical, which nullified the deal. He ended up signing with the Mariners on a one-year, $12 million deal with a full no-trade clause and club options for 2017 and ’18 that vest at specific inning thresholds (162 each or 324 for both seasons).
This season, Iwakuma has stayed healthy, making 26 starts to the tune of a 14-9 record, a 3.81 ERA and a 118/36 K/BB ratio in 163 innings.
Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki deposited a single to left-center field in the fourth inning of Monday night’s game against the Mets, then added a double to center field in the eighth. Those mark hits No. 3,010 and 3,011 for Suzuki in his major league career, tying and then moving past Wade Boggs for sole possession of 27th on baseball’s all-time hits list.
Suzuki would come around to score on a double by Xavier Scruggs to break a scoreless tie in the eighth.
Here’s the video of Ichiro’s first hit.
By the end of the season, Suzuki will have presumably moved ahead of Rafael Palmeiro (26th; 3,020) and Lou Brock (25th; 3,023).
Suzuki was 2-for-4 after the double. With baseball’s fifth month nearly complete, the 42-year-old is currently batting .298/.371/.373.