SEATTLE -- Dayan Viciedo made his long-awaited debut for the 2011 White Sox, playing right field, hitting a homer and driving in three runs during Sunday's 9-3 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field.
Manager Ozzie Guillen also said before the game that Paul Konerko could be back at first base by Tuesday against the Twins, after serving exclusively as designated hitter for 22 games because of a sore left calf/left knee caused by an Andrew Miller pitch on July 31.
That combination, along with strong play from Alejandro De Aza and Brent Lillibridge, Alex Rios' slight uptick offensively and Carlos Quentin's eventual return from a sprained left shoulder, only can mean one thing: Adam Dunn's playing time figures to be reduced considerably during the season's final month.
The White Sox are fighting for their playoff survival. Guillen needs to put the best lineup out there to compete, and Dunn's .163 average with 156 strikeouts does not make him one of the best options.
"Right now, we have to go by winning games," Guillen said. "If you are upset, you are sad, you are mad, whatever it is, you have to throw that thing away and keep playing.
"He can't make any excuse if we bench him. I've been taking a lot of heat from everyone, even from my own family, 'How long are you going to play him?' I have no choice.
"They bring this kid to play. I give him a lot of opportunities," Guillen said. "You know how many people [get on] me out there because of him? I don't care. I take it because I'm here for my players. Not for the fans or the people upstairs. I'm here for the players and I'm going to put the best players out there."
Guillen planned to chat with Dunn about his decision, just as he talked to Rios and Gordon Beckham when he gave them breaks. Dunn told MLB.com on Friday that he had hoped to salvage the season with a strong final month, but then fanned three times on Saturday. Dunn added that this 2011 debacle doesn't indicate a complete loss of his previously vast hitting ability. For now, the ongoing struggles will cost Dunn at-bats.
"He handles it very, very good. He never drags people down. He never put his head down," Guillen said. "He feels horrible because he can't help the ballclub. As a human being, I don't care how tough you are. You have to feel bad."
"I'm a realist. I'm not like an idiot," Dunn said of going to the bench. "We're right in the middle of things. What do you do? What do you say? I've done it to myself. It's not going to change the way I go about things. It's [awful]."