View Full Version : 30 Seconds With Adam Dunn and more (3/12)

03-12-2006, 09:46 PM
30 Seconds With Adam Dunn
By PAT BORZI / The NY Times

At 26, Adam Dunn of the Reds has established himself as one of the most feared left-handed power hitters. With 40 homers last year, the 6-foot-6 Dunn became only the third Reds player to post back-to-back 40-homer seasons, joining George Foster and Ted Kluszewski. Dunn and the Hall of Famer Joe Morgan are the only Reds to amass 100 runs batted in, 100 runs and 100 walks in a season. Dunn has done it twice. He is also the classic feast-or-famine hitter; his 195 strikeouts in 2004 broke the major league record.

BEST POSTGAME SPREAD ON THE ROAD Houston, because it's in my house. I live there, so I get to make whatever I want. I can cook. I'm a big pasta guy.

MEAL TO IMPRESS I'd probably cook a steak.

FIRST CAR A Dodge Ram, a big one, white. It was new. My parents got it for me when I turned 16.

WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT KEN GRIFFEY JR. THAT NOBODY ELSE DOES How much he cares about everything. I don't think people really realize how much he cares about baseball, how much he cares about a lot of things. He really cares what people think. Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it's bad.

PLANS TO READ "GAME OF SHADOWS" I'll probably wait until it comes out on DVD or something.

I DON'T GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT My video games. They go everywhere with me.


03-12-2006, 10:12 PM
Sunday, March 12, 2006

Reds’ Dunn adjusts to playing first base

SARASOTA, Fla. — At first glance, Adam Dunn would appear to have first baseman stamped all over his massive 6-foot-6 frame.

People around baseball took one look at Dunn and assumed that he had played first base at New Caney High School in Texas before the Cincinnati Reds selected him with their second-round pick in the June 1998 free-agent draft.

"You were stereotyping me," Dunn said. "I hadn’t played first base since probably my sophomore year in high school. I played third and pitched mostly."

The Reds didn’t draft Dunn for his defense. They projected him as a power hitter and figured his fastest route to the big leagues would be as an outfielder. He arrived to stay in Cincinnati midway through the 2001 season and became a fixture in left field. He occasionally spelled Sean Casey at first, but had to borrow his affable teammate’s glove to do so.

When the Reds traded Casey to the Pittsburgh Pirates in December, Dunn suddenly became the team’s first baseman. The move made sense because it opened starting outfield positions for Wily Mo Pena and Austin Kearns. It also hurt Dunn somewhat because he had worked uncounted hours to improve his defense.

"That was the hard thing," Dunn said. "Coming up, I was just making an idiot of myself out there in left field and I worked really hard to get to where I felt comfortable. I wasn’t a Gold Glove by any means. But I felt like I did the job. Now it’s back to square one."

Dunn is trying to move beyond that stage this spring with coaches Bucky Dent and Chris Chambliss. Both see a pupil with promise and a willingness to learn.

"He has good hands," said Chambliss, a former Gold Glove winner at first with the New York Yankees. "He used to be a quarterback so he has the footwork that is necessary to play the position. Of course, he is tall enough. He’s got all the things it takes to play there. It’s just a matter of doing the extra work that he needs to get better."

Reds manager Jerry Narron hired Dent to help improve the team’s infield defense. Dunn, who still occasionally will play left field, is just one of his priorities this spring. Dent planned to spend time today hitting ground balls to Dunn.

"We’ve been doing some things trying to get him comfortable over there," Dent said. "So far he has been very receptive. He has listened. It is just a matter of going over there and getting the feel of playing the game. He’s a good athlete and his hands are pretty good."

For his part, Dunn is more than willing to try. He has noticed one physical difference between left field and first.

"You have to get your legs in shape," he said. "My legs have been wobbly from just bending up and down all the time. That’s been the hardest thing. But I know where I’m supposed to be and all that stuff.

"I don’t really feel out of place over there. I’ve played enough first at the big-league level to where I feel comfortable. It’s just going to be an adjustment that I’m going to have to make."

There are limits, however. Asked if he would do the splits to catch a throw, Dunn laughed.

"No, if I can’t use my Go-Go Gadget arms to go get it, it doesn’t need to be caught," he said.

The Reds showed confidence in Dunn’s ability to do about anything else when they signed him to a two-year, $18.5 million contract.

"I’m glad to have that out of the way," Dunn said. "Now I can just concentrate on baseball and forget about all the stuff that I have no control over."

Part of what he wants to control more is his offense. Although he reached 40 home runs and 100 RBI for a second consecutive season in 2005, Dunn hopes to pare down his strikeouts from 168 and improve his batting average from .247.

"There are so many things that I can do better," he said. "One day it’s all going to click in. Hopefully, it’s this year because I can’t wait much longer. I’m very impatient."