CLEVELAND — Adam Dunn admits it: He likes to watch.
The White Sox slugger can’t stop his penchant for shutting down when a baserunner attempts a steal.
“One hundred percent of the time I won’t swing because my eyes go straight to the runner,” Dunn said Saturday. “It’s just a bad habit I got into.”
If Dunn knows the runner is going, he said he’s not affected. Gordon Beckham was running when Dunn homered on a 3-2 pitch on Opening Day. Dunn knew he was going, so he wasn’t distracted. Juan Pierre, who stole 68 bases last season, has a green light to go on his own.
“I’ve played with some pretty good base stealers and all I asked them was just don’t run with two strikes – please – because I probably won’t swing,” said Dunn, who has hit 355 career home runs.
“But that’s how they make their living. I want them to go, and I’d rather have them on second for sure.”
With two strikes, though, Pierre and Beckham should know that Dunn won’t swing if there is no sign.
“I just don’t know why my body shuts down when I see a runner going,” Dunn said. “It’s a bad habit I got into.”
Dunn singled in the first and added an RBI groundout in the the second inning of the Sox’ game against the Indians, giving him five RBI in his first six at-bats as a Sox.
So far, so good as a designated hitter for the first time American Leaguer who is concerned about staying loose and sharp between at-bats.
“[Friday] was easy,” Dunn said Friday. “It seemed like as soon as it was my at-bat, 15 minutes later I had another one. I was still sweating. I don’t imagine it’s going to be like that. I had the same routine: I went up to hit, came back and sat down, got water, put some gum in and went to hit again.”