Dunn may replace patience with aggression

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The 222 strikeouts produced by Adam Dunn topped the Majors during the 2012 season. His 105 walks also ranked No. 1, as did the 4.43 pitches per plate appearance he witnessed.

That selectivity helping Dunn to a career-best .370 on-base percentage might be replaced this season by Dunn swinging earlier in the count. His approach could cut down on strikeouts, while possibly giving him better pitches to hit to boost his .204 average.

"I think that's going to be an emphasis this spring is trying to be more aggressive, not get myself too deep into counts," Dunn said. "It's kind of to give me something to work on this spring instead of being so selective early, especially first pitch."

Dunn faced a big league best 157 full counts in 2012, finishing 12-for-102 in those situations with 65 strikeouts and 55 walks. Fewer strikeouts and fewer walks from Dunn is OK by manager Robin Ventura, as long as there are more hits to follow.

"You get more hits, especially the way they play him with the shift. Go ahead and take the hits to the left side," Ventura said. "You want him to be more aggressive.

"A guy like him, there is something about hitting earlier in the count instead of taking pitches that are close or just off. Athletically, he has the ability to expand the zone a little. We're not talking about expanding the zone and swinging and missing. You're talking about being a little more aggressive, going out of the zone and making contact."