Ozzie Guillen hasn't pulled out all the stops to slow Adam Dunn's descent into madness, but he is getting pretty close.
After another golden sombrero during the White Sox's 3-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, Ozzie Guillen told reporters that Dunn will hit seventh in the lineup until morale improves.
Entering the season, "delicate" is the last word you'd use to describe anything about Dunn or his game, but this is where they are. And this is where managers reallly earn their money, for they have no secret word, but a bunch of possible trap doors.
For instance, it would've made sense to remove Dunn in favor of Brent Lillibridge to face Marc Rzepczynski in the eighth inning. Looking at it with a larger scope, it makes even more sense to create a platoon with Dayan Viciedo, and rotate him through the corner outfield spots as well. And if hitting seventh doesn't work, a multiple-game benching could be in order.
At the same time, Dunn's confidence is shot. He's said so himself. Guillen has maintained a strong faith in Dunn, so much so that he might be the only guy who sees a way out of this mess. If Guillen suddenly says with his actions, "I don't believe you can deliver," does that help matters?
Now, the counterargument is that there's nothing Guillen can do to make Dunn hit worse, and that's pretty much true. And Guillen probably has some leeway because Dunn seems to accept all criticism. But the Sox need Dunn for not only this year, but the next three, so it makes sense for Guillen to gradually reduce his responsibility untill there is literally nowhere else to go.
So dropping Dunn to seventh is a good second step. If that doesn't help Dunn's game come around, then at least I hope he can show enough of a pulse for three weeks. Interleague play resumes with three in Arizona on June 17-19, and that would give Dunn, White Sox fans and baseball to take a few days off away from each other.
Guillen will try to use Dunn long enough to get Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin some time off -- and away from Rogers Centre's artificial turf -- which, of course, would be a great time to have Viciedo.
The White Sox went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and failed to drive in a runner on third with one out in each of the last two innings, so James' post at WSO is good for another day. In a nutshell, Sox hitters are unbelievably terrible when it counts, according to high-leverage stats.
"It’s unfortunate that Buster got hurt," Pierzynski said Thursday in a deliberate tone. "He’s a good young player. It’s just unfortunate he got hurt. You never want to see a good young player get hurt on a freak accident like that.
"It’s part of the game, and every catcher has been through nasty collisions and you just don’t like to see guys get hurt."
Pierzynski acknowledges that it's part of the game, but I don't get the impression that it needs to be a part based on what he said. Maybe there's more to it that didn't make the brief.
But Posey's injury does underscore how tough and lucky Pierzynski has been throughout his career, as the guy has never visited the DL. Then again, the White Sox outfield hasn't showcased strong, accurate arms, so he usually isn't in harm's way when runners cross the plate.
And the one time he was tested, he managed OK.
If the White Sox's road schedule has seemed more difficult than usual, there's a reason. At the bottom of this story about Alex Rios, Scott Merkin sub Arden Zwelling throws in a noteworthy fact about the schedule:
The White Sox are in the middle of their third straight three-city road trip as they struggle through some early-season scheduling difficulties. It's the first time since 1986 that the team has had three consecutive three-city trips, as the team finds itself on the road for 31 of 44 games from April 18 through the end of May.
Mark Teahen says "all is good" with his strained oblique, but he'll be taking the full route back to major-league action, starting with a rehab stint beginning Friday.