Adam Dunn may retire on the verge of 500-homer club

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Adam Dunn is 34 years old and having a productive season for the White Sox, ranking among the league’s top 25 in OPS while approaching 500 career homers, yet with free agency and another payday around the corner this offseason he’s pondering retirement.

Dunn, who’s finishing up a four-year, $56 million contract, talked to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com about his upcoming decision:

You’re used to doing something your whole life, and I know it’s going to be an adjustment, but I’m fortunate to be able to put myself in this situation at a pretty young age to make the call. There’s nothing bad about that. I’m not sad about that. I’m actually pretty happy about it.

Dunn has three kids under 10 years old and more than $100 million in career earnings, so as he told Hayes:

I’m not a 22-year-old single guy anymore. There are a lot of things that play into coming back and your decision.

Since a disastrous first season in Chicago he’s posted a .784 OPS in 400 games for the White Sox and with 459 career homers Dunn is likely only two seasons from joining the 500-homer club. And of course now he’s gotten all of that pitching experience, too.

Throughout his career Dunn’s bad defense, high strikeout rates, and low batting averages have made him a frequent target of criticism, but among all active hitters with at least 5,000 career plate appearances he ranks 18th in OPS at .858, sandwiched between Robinson Cano at .860 and teammate Paul Konerko at .843.

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.