I always seem to have a headache after reading a John Fay article.
Dunn's made great progress
But he's not done yet
BY JOHN FAY | JFAY@ENQUIRER.COM
FORT MYERS, Fla. - When Adam Dunn came up in the third inning of the Reds' game with Boston Saturday, there was a runner at second base.
Jonathan Papelbon had gotten Josh Hamilton and Brandon Phillips to take called third strikes. Papelbon had gotten Dunn on strikes in his first at-bat.
A strikeout waiting to happen, right?
No. Dunn didn't try to do too much, as they say. He simply stroked a line drive up the middle to get the run home.
Brook Jacoby had to be smiling in the dugout.
"He's using the whole field," said Jacoby, the Reds' new hitting coach. "You can't pitch him in a particular area and get him out."
Dunn's having a great spring. He's hitting .448 with two home runs and seven RBI.
"It's good to start off good," Dunn said. "But my goal is to be comfortable in stuff we're doing and get my body ready for the season."
Jacoby and Dunn go back to when Dunn was a minor-leaguer and Jacoby was a roving instructor.
"The good thing with him is I've worked with him before and I like him a lot," Dunn said. "It's a lot easier when you trust somebody that much."
The fact Dunn and Jacoby had a history probably helped Jacoby get the job with the Reds.
"You can have the greatest coach in the world, but if the player doesn't believe in what he's teaching, a lot of times it doesn't do any good," Reds manager Jerry Narron said.
Dunn's average has gone from .266 to .247 to .234 the last three years. Reversing the trend is key to the Reds' offensive success this season.
Jacoby made adjustments to keep Dunn's head more still at the plate.
"With those strikeout numbers, you have to wonder how well he was seeing the ball," Jacoby said.
Dunn hasn't exactly eliminated strikeouts. He's struck out nine times in 29 at-bats this spring. That's a 170-or-so strikeout pace.
But some of what Jacoby is stressing is still relatively new.
"There's a couple of little things that I'm not really comfortable with," Dunn said. "I don't know if it's that I'm uncomfortable. But I have to think about more of them than I'd like to, rather than muscle memory taking over and being able to do it without thinking about it."