White Sox manager Robin Ventura suggested to reporters after Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Tigers that designated hitter Adam Dunn might be ready to return to the starting lineup Wednesday evening.
But Dunn failed to make it through batting practice on Wednesday afternoon, according to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com, and has experienced little to no improvement in his sore right oblique over the past couple of days. A pain-killing injection administered Tuesday morning did not achieve its intended effect.
The 32-year-old slugger has been out since September 5 — a full week — and seems unlikely to appear in a game before the weekend. Dan Johnson, a .236/.335/.406 career hitter in the major leagues, is filling in at designated hitter on Wednesday against tough Detroit right-hander Max Scherzer.
Dunn is batting .208/.340/.485 with 38 home runs and 88 RBI through 133 games played this season. Chicago is currently clinging to a two-game lead over the Tigers in the American League Central standings.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.