2/24/2014 7:39 P.M. ET
Jones gaining confidence with each bullpen session
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Nate Jones has thrown two recent bullpen sessions in testing his moderately strained left glute, including one of approximately 35 pitches on Sunday, and feels on the right track to soon pitch in an actual game.
"I'm getting good. I'm feeling better every day," Jones said. "The first one was probably 50, 60 percent, just getting over my front leg. Then the next one we bumped it up a little bit, probably I would guess 75, 80 percent. All went well.
"[White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] was pleased with the ball coming out of the hand. I don't think it feels like I'm too far behind."
Jones went fastball/changeup in his first bullpen but mixed in the slider on Sunday. Manager Robin Ventura mentioned that Jones participated in pitchers' fielding drills Monday.
"It's the climb back into it. It's getting comfortable with doing everything," Ventura said. "He's at least moving around and feels fine."
"I didn't like being shut down," Jones said. "But after the two bullpens, I feel like I'm not too far behind and ready to rock and roll and see what happens."
Dunn focused on 2014, not beyond
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Spring Training sits at Day 10 for the White Sox, and nobody on the team has thrown a Cactus League pitch.
Yet, talk of what Adam Dunn will do after the present season already has arisen.
Dunn, 34, is playing in the fourth and final season of a four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox. It has been a disappointing run in Chicago for Dunn, who has a .197 average with 86 homers, 224 RBIs, a .317 on-base percentage and .405 slugging percentage. And with Paul Konerko and Jose Abreu in the first base/designated hitter mix, Dunn could find himself in a partial platoon role primarily against right-handed pitchers.
There have been moments in the past when Dunn has talked about walking away from baseball if he wasn't having fun. In a conversation with reporters on Monday, Dunn indicated that 2014 would not be his final year.
"Yeah, as of right now, today, yeah. I plan on coming [back]," said Dunn, who said he wouldn't think about life after this season and possibly the White Sox until next Thanksgiving. "Again I could go out and stretch and say, 'I'm done, I'm not having any fun.' But I don't see that happening today."
With manager Robin Ventura talking about Dunn getting some time in left field, the owner of 440 career home runs believes that Spring Training work might lead to some regular-season time in the outfield. He said the biggest change of moving from first to left is moving to different sides of the field and then seeing the ball off the bat.
Preparation, in this case, is crucial to help Dunn be ready for pretty much anything.
"Whatever is going to help win, I'm in," Dunn said. "If I'm not swinging it good and everyone else is, I'll sit and watch and do that. But I don't plan on that happening."
"My job is to be ready every day and I'm going about it like I do every spring. I'm going about it like I'm going to have and plan on having 700 at-bats.
"It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out there are a lot of guys that have the ability, have the talent to play and you can only have a certain amount of spots," Dunn said. "But again, I'm not looking at it like I'm going to play once a week, twice a week. I'll be ready to play 162-plus games."
Flowers willing to adapt to new collision rule
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers appreciates the clarity provided by Monday's announcement concerning Rule 7.13, which "will prohibit the most egregious collisions at home plate" per a release from Major League Baseball.
According to the rule also implemented by the MLBPA:
• A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate). If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball).
• Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the umpire, the catcher, without possession of the ball, blocks the pathway of the runner, the umpire shall call or signal the runner safe.
This rule does not mandate that the runner always has to slide or that the catcher can never block the plate. On the pathway call, the umpire will consider whether the runner made an effort to touch the plate and whether he lowered his shoulders or pushed through with his hands, elbows or arms when moving toward the catcher.
"It's nice for everybody to know what we need to work on," Flowers said. "That's been up in the air when we've worked on a few things already.
"Do we need to work on this? Will it happen? I saw the first details, and they had to change a couple things. I don't know all the details, but at least a decision's made. At least we know what we need to practice every day."
Flowers didn't really think a change needed to be made.
"I haven't had too many experiences with it. I think for baseball it's tough to see some guys get hurt," Flowers said. "Obviously, Buster [Posey] getting hurt on that play, that's not good for anybody. That's probably taking fans out of the seats.
"They're coming to see him play and that team play. From that aspect and MLB's aspect it makes sense. For us slower baserunners, it's going to be a little different. Sometimes we have a chance to run them over and score. Now, we have to make it."
White Sox eager to get into intrasquad action
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox move to their intrasquad portion of the Spring Training program with a 12:30 p.m. CT first pitch Tuesday on one of the back fields at Camelback Ranch. Chris Beck and Andre Rienzo get the start for the respective teams, and manager Robin Ventura expects all of his everyday position players to be in the lineups.
Those lineups will include Jose Abreu, getting his first look in live-game action.
"Even tomorrow you're excited to see guys out playing a game," Ventura said. "But when you're playing against another team, it always takes it to a different level and it'll be nice to see him out there.
"I'm sure [Abreu] wants to get out there as much as everybody wants to see him out there because he's tired of answering questions of what ifs and things like that. He's ready to go, too."
Ventura is looking forward to getting players in a game situation before Cactus League action starts Friday against the Dodgers.
"See how guys are moving around," Ventura said. "Pitchers, just see where they're at in all of this. Get guys in the game. You're starting to get a little more in-game situations."
Dunn eyeing trip to Oscars on Sunday night
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The path has been cleared for Adam Dunn to attend the Oscars Sunday night at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.
Dunn is an investor in his friend Joe Newcomb's company, which produced Dallas Buyers Club, the movie that ended up with six Oscar nominations, including one of the nine Best Picture nominees, Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Jared Leto for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Dunn also had a small part as bartender Neddie Jay and has joked since SoxFest about being overlooked in the 2014 Academy Awards.
Prior to Monday's workouts at Camelback Ranch, Dunn said that he's "got a ride" from Arizona and has tickets to attend, but he still has to figure out the logistics. Manager Robin Ventura didn't hesitate to help with those logistics by offering up his blessing for the short trip.
"Absolutely. I think he should go. I don't know how many opportunities people in baseball would have to do that, but I'm telling him to go," Ventura said. "You're looking first at how many people get a chance to do that and actually be a part of it, not just go just to go, but be a part of something that has a chance to do something special.
"I'd rather have him not even worry about the next day and have him catch up after that," Ventura said.
Sunday's scheduled Cactus League contest features the White Sox in Surprise against Texas with a 2:05 p.m. CT first pitch. The Oscars start around 7 p.m. CT, although Dunn would be able to fly out of nearby Glendale Airport.
Ventura added that Dunn would probably play in that Sunday game, although he would talk to him about the particulars. As Ventura mentioned above, he doesn't mind Dunn missing Monday's action on the return from California.
"I'm not worried about precedence either because the next time somebody has something to do with the Oscars, we'll deal with it," said a smiling Ventura. "It's a cool thing and he should be able to go enjoy it.
"He has to invite me, but other than that, he can go. He deserves to go. That movie would not have been as good without him."
This White Sox support was appreciated by Dunn, but he has to decide if it's worth taking his lone Spring Training day off so early. Dunn also doesn't want to create any issues within the clubhouse related to his work.
"Again, I appreciate them considering it. Obviously, I'm not here to go to the Academy Awards," Dunn said after Monday's workouts. "I'm here to get better for Opening Day. I'm going to think about it and see if it works time-wise.
"Realistically, how many times do you get to do something like this?" said Dunn earlier in the day. "I think I've got to do some pretty cool stuff in my life, but this would be one of them. I don't even think it's a big deal. If it's remotely an issue at all, then it's not worth it to me. I care about these 25 guys here and the coaches."
Third to first
Ventura doesn't have too much involvement with the Minor League mini-camp currently taking place at Camelback Ranch, involving approximately 50 players.
"You sneak over and look at a few people and try to spend a little bit of time over there," Ventura said. "But you don't want to mess it up. You go over and take a peek."