Robin Ventura described the exchange like it was the closing of a long-awaited business transaction.
Sometime in the sixth or seventh inning of the already lost White Sox game against the Rangers on Tuesday, the Sox manager locked eyes with designated hitter Adam Dunn, and Dunn acknowledged the unspoken thought with a nod. Dunn was going to pitch for the first time since he was in high school.
The Sox 16-0 loss to the Rangers wasn’t a joking matter, but Ventura’s decision to put Dunn on the mound when the Sox were down by 15 runs provided the Sox with a more lighthearted atmosphere Wednesday morning at U.S. Cellular Field, as was pretty much the point of the exercise.
“I didn’t think it would be this big of a deal,” Dunn said. “I thought it would just be a big deal to me.”
Dunn left the clubhouse early Tuesday night as he said he typically does before day games, and so he wasn’t available to the media until he held court as his locker Wednesday morning, throwing out one-liners like he did pitches in his outing, which for the record resulted in one run, two hits and a walk.
On topping out at 83 mph on the radar gun: “If that’s 83, I’ve got 10 more in there.”
On his pitching plan: “I told Robin, ‘I’m not going to go out there to see how hard I can throw. I just want to throw strikes and more importantly try to break somebody’s bat.’”
On fatigue from his 22-pitch outing: “The only fatigue I felt was in my left butt cheek from riding my bike up here.”
On if he regretted taking on the job by pitch No. 20: “Actually I did regret pitch 20 because I should’ve struck him out. Threw a stupid pitch. (No.) 22 should’ve been a homer.”
On what the Rangers said was his “power sinker:” “Gravity, no doubt. The slower the better.”
On jokingly slamming his glove after throwing a ball on his second pitch: “Strike. If I’m hitting, it’s called.”
On the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre saying they couldn’t charge the mound if he had hit someone: “I know I threw one at Elvis (Andrus) on purpose. He’s hard to hit. He’s like Chris Sale. He’s too skinny, too hard to hit.”
Ventura added to the comedy routine, saying the Rangers couldn’t charge the mound because “he’d swallow them.”
Dunn was back at designated hitter for Wednesday’s series finale against the Rangers, but he said he was happy to cross the appearance off his wish list.
“It’s not to do anything other than make a bad situation as good as it can be,” Dunn said. “You’re getting your butt kicked 15-0, and the fans that are there and the guys that are there, everybody is waiting for it to be over. Then all of the sudden, that happens. It’s just fun. I’m glad I got to do it.”
• After going hitless with three strikeouts in his first five Major League at-bats, Cubs rookie sensation Javier Baez ripped an opposite-field home run in the top of the 12th inning Tuesday night to send Chicago to a 6-5 victory over the Rockies.
The 414-foot solo homer to right-center field came off left-handed reliever Boone Logan, and warranted a hero’s welcome from Baez’s teammates when he reached home plate.
It’s the first homer by a player making his Major League debut that gave his team the lead in extra innings since Miguel Cabrera did it for the Marlins on June 20, 2003.