CHICAGO -- Potential reasons for Adam Dunn's struggles have been debated at length this year. Among the ideas tossed around have been facing new pitchers in the switch to the American League, his move to designated hitter and simply playing for a big-market team with high expectations like the White Sox.
With Interleague Play now over -- his struggles continued against the National League -- Dunn was back at DH and batting third for Monday's series opener against the Royals, but he was hoping he took something away from Interleague Play.
"The second [at-bat], I don't know what it was, something felt actually normal for the first time in a while," Dunn said after Sunday's game. "Hopefully, that will carry over to [Monday] and we can kind of get it going."
While Dunn couldn't describe exactly what he meant, he said he felt a noticeable difference in his last three at-bats Sunday against the Cubs.
Leading off the top of the fourth inning Monday, Dunn lined a base hit into right field, marking just his second hit off a left-handed pitcher in 55 tries this season. In response to a loud ovation from the fans at U.S. Cellular Field, Dunn played along by tipping his helmet to the crowd as he stood on first base.
After the mock ovation in the fourth, Dunn received a legitimate ovation in the eighth inning, when he blasted a two-run homer to temporarily put the White Sox ahead, 4-3. He was also at the plate in the bottom of the ninth after the Royals tied it at 4, but catcher A.J. Pierzynski scored the winning run on a balk call with Dunn ahead in the count 1-0.
Dunn was on the field well before any of his teammates, taking another live batting practice session against left-hander Garrett Johnson and right-hander Stephen Sauer, two Minor League pitchers who have been doing rehab work with the White Sox since their road series in Colorado. Though there haven't been any noticeable differences in his stats since the sessions started last week, manager Ozzie Guillen hopes the feeling Dunn had on Sunday is a sign he could be turning the corner.
"We're going to continue to do that, as long as he wants to, to try to get him better," Guillen said. "We've been doing it a few times, but it hasn't worked. Hopefully, today it gets something in his mind, he thinks positive and hopefully he gets something out of this and hopefully he starts hitting."