Intense cage work paying dividends for Dunn

Intense cage work paying dividends for Dunn

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Don't look at the distance of Adam Dunn's three-run home run in the first inning Thursday against the Rangers' Neftali Feliz, or the fact that it even went out, and be impressed.

Dunn has a slightly different measurement for success during Cactus League at-bats.

"You like results, but I told [hitting coach] Jeff [Manto], it was great the ball went out, but I was more happy where it went out," said Dunn, who drove a 1-2 pitch over the right-field wall. "That ball I could have hooked it to first base easily and probably still got the run in, but the direction where the ball went, that's what I cared about."

That blast was followed by Dunn's first-pitch double off Texas left-handed reliever Michael Kirkman, scoring Brent Morel with two outs in the third. Dunn spoke of how he could have easily hooked that pitch to second, adding how he faced Kirkman with the approach that the southpaw might start with a breaking ball.

In hitting the fastball instead, Dunn joked that he didn't know what happened and thinks he "blacked out or something."

"I'm serious," said a smiling Dunn. "I was almost dead sold on [hitting a] breaking ball."

Stepping up the intensity of his cage work done with Manto has paid dividends for Dunn, who was trying to see as many pitches as possible in his first two spring games where he drew three walks. On Thursday, his goal was to get his timing down and swing early.

Regardless of the plan, Dunn looks locked in with each at-bat.

"I am seeing the ball good. And that's over half the battle for me, seeing it," Dunn said. "I can tell by taking pitches, I'm seeing them good. The things we're actually working on in the cage as of now, that's what we're seeing, it's helping. I'm staying back, I'm not cutting off my swing. Right now, I've got good length. I can give you all kinds of technical terms, but it doesn't really mean a lot. But the swing path feels like the ball is going where it should, the direction."

"Out here it can be deceiving with the windblown ones. Those weren't windblown. Those were right on the barrel," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Dunn. "He's had really good at-bats, even in the walks. You can tell he's seeing it and confident at the plate."