2/17/2013 7:00 P.M. ET
Late-season fade fresh in Dunn's mind
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- During his first Spring Training meeting with the media on Sunday morning at Camelback Ranch, Adam Dunn was asked how long it took for him to get over the team's late-season 2012 fade that cost the White Sox a postseason berth.
That date hasn't come yet for the powerful designated hitter.
"I don't think we have. I hope we haven't," Dunn said. "You work so hard during the offseason, during the season, putting yourself in a great position and obviously we had some injuries, but we just didn't play well when it mattered. That's tough for me and I would assume it's tough for everybody in the locker room.
"I'm sure everybody's going to say, 'Start over with a clean slate,' but I don't want to forget about last year. I want to remember how it felt basically getting knocked out of first place, because I know I didn't like it very much and I don't want it to happen again. You work so hard to put yourself in the position we were in and just to let stupid things happen. We just didn't play well at the end."
The White Sox held a three-game lead over the Tigers in the American League Central following a victory over the Royals on Sept. 18, but their 2-10 record over the next 12 games ultimately erased their postseason hopes. Detroit won the division and the American League pennant.
Manager Robin Ventura appreciates Dunn's sentiment, but he also doesn't want the team focusing on 2012 shortcomings as the 2013 season fast approaches.
"Major League Baseball isn't going to let us go to September and try to start it. There's a long way to go to get back to that point," Ventura said. "It's nice that it sticks in your skull about it, but the focus should be on getting back to the first game of the year and realizing it's a long way to get there."
Danks feels good after second bullpen session
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The actual velocity or location of John Danks' pitches during his second bullpen, taking place Sunday morning at Camelback Ranch, wasn't the most important factor resulting from another successful session.
It was the fact that Danks was able to bounce back from Thursday's first session without any pain that separates his post arthroscopic surgery work from his painful pre-surgical struggles last year.
"I think that's a big sign that I was able to get out there and feel good again," the upbeat Danks said following his 15-minute bullpen. "That makes me feel a lot better about things. We'll see how it feels in a couple days. It's exciting. I'm still making progress, which is a good sign."
"He felt better the further he went along, so that's good news," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "Everything is on schedule and he feels great. You just monitor that every time he goes out. All these little steps are better along the way."
Danks' Spring Training schedule has two days off in between trips to the mound, which means he'll be back to work on Wednesday for live batting practice. Three live batting practices are on tap for Danks before another bullpen on March 1 and his first Cactus League start on March 4 against the Giants.
Although it will be a controlled environment, Danks will be facing hitters Wednesday for the first time since May 19 when he beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Danks has been told by the White Sox that he's on target to break camp with the team, if that's a path the organization follows at the season's outset, but he's just focused on preparing like any other starting pitcher.
"I'm throwing what everyone else is throwing. It's not much different than what I'd be throwing if I was completely healthy," Danks said. "I'm trying to get it there and make the ball do some things and definitely want to pop the glove.
"At the same time, I'm not trying to throw 93 mph, either," added Danks, who threw more breaking balls in his second bullpen. "It's intense. I'm getting work in, but it isn't game speed. The next step will be to see how hitters react to it and what they're thinking, so I'm anxious to get some feedback from those guys."
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."
Konerko last man standing from 2005 champs
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With A.J. Pierzynski's departure to the Rangers, Paul Konerko becomes the last man standing from the 2005 World Series champions. That honor doesn't surprise the White Sox captain, with the aggregate departures coming over an eight-year period.
"If you look at the past World Series teams, you probably find over a five-to-seven year period, guys get older and usually the winner of the World Series takes some older guys to begin with, so guys move on," Konerko said. "I don't think it's that big of a deal.
"Hopefully we can make a run here and challenge for another one before I'm done playing here. But I don't think about it too much. Until someone brings it up to me, it really doesn't cross my mind."
Konerko has an added distinction of being the oldest man on the White Sox roster, turning 37 on March 5. He doesn't feel that way, but humorously gets reminded of his stature by teammates.
"It's funny, I remember when I was coming up and when I was 21 or 22, there were guys I played with that when I was 12, I remember seeing them on TV," said Konerko, who mentioned that catcher Tyler Flowers has been giving him the most good-natured ribbing about his age.
"Now, some of those guys come up to me and say, 'When I was in junior high school, we went to one of your games' and now they are on your team," Konerko said. "It's kind of the circle of the life of the big leagues.
"I try to spin it and say to have that situation exist, it means I had to have gotten here through all the years. That's a cool thing. As a player or anything, you want to experience as much as you can in one area. Part of the experience of being a baseball player is to be in a clubhouse and be called old."
Third to first
• Robin Ventura's second managerial state-of-the-team address on Sunday morning, before the first White Sox first full-squad workout, was quick and to the point.
"Everybody is excited to get going, rather than listening to me talk," said Ventura, who mentioned general manager Rick Hahn opened the talk.
• All of the White Sox players expected in camp have arrived on time.
• Adam Dunn became a father for the third time this offseason, with his wife giving birth to their first daughter.
"I can't do a whole lot now," Dunn said. "I don't have the proper equipment to wake up and feed. So, I've got it pretty easy right now."