Let’s not read too much into it just yet, but Adam Dunn is giving some strong early indications that he’s ready to shake off his historically awful 2011 season.
On Thursday, the big first baseman hit a three-run homer off Neftali Feliz in his first at-bat and collected an RBI double off left-hander Michael Kirkman in his second at-bat as part of a 6-3 win over Texas.
Coming into the day, Dunn had walked in three of his four plate appearances this spring. He’s yet to strike out in seven plate appearances.
Obviously, that’s not much, but it’s still a big change. Dunn fanned once every 2.8 plate appearances last season. Even last spring, he hit just .224 and struck out 27 times in 67 at-bats.
It’d be no surprise if the double off Kirkman pleased Dunn more than the homer. Dunn had just one extra-base hit against left-handers all last season. He was 6-for-94 with one double and three RBI against them.
The White Sox are poised to give Dunn another chance to be an everyday player this year, but if he does get off to a slow start, they probably won’t be as patient as they were last season, especially as far as playing him against southpaws. Some good at-bats against left-handers this spring would go a long way towards restoring both Dunn’s confidence and the team’s faith in him.
The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.
However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”
Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.
Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.
Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.
No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.