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Dunn realizes dream of toeing big league rubber

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Dunn realizes dream of toeing big league rubber play video for Dunn realizes dream of toeing big league rubber

CHICAGO -- It was some time in the sixth or seventh inning of the Rangers' 16-0 victory Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field when White Sox manager Robin Ventura made simple eye contact with designated hitter Adam Dunn.

"He just nodded, so he knew what I was thinking," said Ventura during his media session prior to Wednesday afternoon's finale. "He was up for it. He was a good sport."

Dunn knew that he was finally getting a chance to take the mound. It was an opportunity the 6-foot-6, 285-pounder had pretty much wanted for since … well, as long he's played professional baseball.

And while Dunn was unable to achieve his goal of recording a strikeout, he hit the mark on a couple of other areas during his ninth-inning appearance.

• The White Sox didn't have to burn another reliever in their second game over the past three days in which their hurlers allowed 16 runs.

• Nobody got hurt.

• This moment was infinitely entertaining, even for the team losing by 15 runs at the time.

"That's the fun part about it. You are getting your butt kicked and there's nothing else to do," said Dunn, speaking Wednesday morning for the first time about his Major League pitching debut. "Someone can hit a homer and we're on the board, but it's not the same as getting a guy going out there who doesn't pitch that is pitching. Perfect timing.

"Every team goes through one or a couple of those a year. I always wanted to get out there and see how hard it is. I know how hard it is on the other side. I wanted to see how hard it is on that side. It's fun. It's something different."

According to MLB Network, Dunn became the third player with more than 400 homers to pitch in a game. Babe Ruth (September 1928) had 565 at the time, Dunn had 457 and Jimmie Foxx (August 1939) had 456. Dunn has the highest home run total for a player making his Major League pitching debut per Elias.

MLB.com Gameday charted Dunn with throwing 20 changeups, one slider and one curve. He topped out at 83 mph, using a free and easy delivery reminiscent of Gaylord Perry or even Rick Reuschel. But Dunn believes more exists within him, velocity wise.

"I was talking about that last night. I don't know. I never looked at the radar gun. I could care less," Dunn said. "I topped out at 83. I got 10 more in there. I do. If that's 83, I got 10 more in there."

"Knowing that he wasn't really going full effort there, I was kind of surprised with the 82," White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said. "I thought he did pretty good, changed some speeds on a couple of guys, almost hit a few guys, kind of set the tone for the inning."

One of the funnier moments in the inning started with Dunn snapping his glove in mock disgust after receiving the ball back from catcher Adrian Nieto when his second pitch to Elvis Andrus was called a ball.

"Strike," said Dunn with a smile. "If I'm hitting, it's called. Book it."

There was also the Rangers talking about Dunn's power sinker after he allowed one run in the ninth. Dunn countered by saying it was his special gravitational pull pitch.

"Gravity, no doubt. The slower the better," Dunn said. "If I go out there and throw 88 mph, 90 mph -- a lot of people do that. And not a lot of people are humming it up near 80.

"Again, you just want to make sure nobody gets hurt and get out of it as quick as possible. You get to 3-1, let them hit it -- here it is, hit it."

Adrian Beltre, who drew the lone walk off of Dunn, quipped after the game that the Rangers couldn't charge the mound if Dunn hit anyone because Dunn was too big. Ventura joked Wednesday that Dunn would swallow them, in response to Beltre's comment that drew national reaction.

In reality, Dunn didn't think his inning would be that big of a deal to anyone but himself.

"Obviously, it was fun," Dunn said. "That was the perfect time and a game like that, having a couple of games like that in three or four days, it was perfect. And something I wanted to do probably since Day 1."

"He's been begging to do that for three years," said Ventura of Dunn, who only had a chance to play catch to get ready while he was still hitting. "He was a little shocked when I walked up to him and said, 'Tonight's your night.'"

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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