When Dunn was asked what that statement meant, he said that Manto was trying to "loosen me up."
"I like to laugh," Dunn said. "And that made me laugh."
Manto supported Dunn's assertion that he was simply trying to ease the stress for the slugger coming off his rough 2011 debut with the White Sox. That plan seems to have worked to perfection, with Dunn's ninth-inning blast off Jose Valverde in Saturday's victory and first-inning homer in Sunday's 3-1 setback giving him nine homers and four in his last five games.
If Dunn is hitting homers, driving in runs and getting on base, then he's doing the job the White Sox intended.
"I'm sure that if we asked him to hit .300, he probably could," said Manto. "You saw the balls he has been hitting. If we asked him to shut down his swing a little bit, I'm sure he could hit .290 to .300. We aren't interested in that. We are looking for quality at-bats with runners on base and take what we can.
"Sometimes, when you become cautious, you try to do things you aren't normally used to doing. He was trying to be such a good hitter, trying to be the guy that hit .330 and still hit 40 homers, I just told him to be himself and that was the thing behind it. 'Don't be a good hitter, just be yourself.'"
And with Dunn in consistently good position to hit, big things should come from the designated hitter.
"As long as he's swinging at good pitches, it's going to produce hits and good things," said White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko of Dunn. "He's a big guy, so he'll probably produce some homers.
"He's got the bat speed and it's not simple, but when you see him getting into the position he's getting into, again it's only bad pitch selection that can do him in. He's in a good position to hit."