Adam Dunn's slump has been so bad, he doesn't answer his phone because he doesn't wants to talk about it any more. He's frustrated, White Sox fans are past the point of impatience and they're letting him know it, for booing out loud.
"I know how frustrated they are, because my family is frustrated, everyone,'' said Dunn, who was given a day off against Cubs left-hander Doug Davis on Wednesday. "I don't even answer my phone anymore because I don't want to hear what's wrong with this and that. It's frustrating. I can't even put into words.
"I've never been through anything like this in my life. It's the most frustrating thing that's ever happened to me.''
Given a four-year contract for $56 million this off-season, the expectations for Dunn were something like 40 home runs and 100 RBI. His 282 homers since 2004 trailed only Albert Pujols in all of baseball.
Adjusting to a new league and designated-hitter duty has been challenging, and an emergency appendectomy in April abbreviated a good groove. Dunn has only shown glimpses of getting his swing back, and he was batting .178 with seven homers, 29 RBI and 91 strikeouts through Tuesday.
"It's tough as a hitting coach to see one of your guys go through what he's going through,'' Greg Walker said Wednesday. "This is a tough game to play, a tough league and a tough city to play in. It's not going to get any easier. He's going to have to fight through it.''
The latest media criticism of Dunn is for not hitting during the offseason. He has an off-season conditioning routine, he said, but he doesn't hit, which hasn't prevented him from being one of eight players in history to hit 40 homers in five straight seasons. Keep company with Babe Ruth, Duke Snider, Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez and nobody cares.
Slump big time and lots of experts have lots of suggestions.
"We don't want to change him,'' Walker said. "We don't with players who come over here ... sometimes you have to think out of box and make adjustments, sure, that might be something that has to take place here for him to get going. But we signed Adam Dunn. That's who we're trying to coach. And to be honest with you - and most people would think this is a ludicrous statement -I don't think he's that far away. I think if he gets his body in position to hit he will be Adam Dunn again.
"We've encouraged him to be more aggressive in the areas where he likes to hit the ball. What pitch do you want -- and where -- and don't go up looking for a walk. Get your pitch and hit it. He has a great eye - that's evident.''
Walker said Dunn's bat speed remains exceptional for a hitter his size. His problem boils down to having his big body in the right place at the right time.
"The only thing we're trying to get him to do is get started on time and get his body in position to hit,'' Walker said. "That's been his big miss this year. He's been late and caught back, which puts you too far under in a swing plane. I personally think that's all there's too it.''
There is also the mental side, Walker said.
"Most of this game is played between the ears. Right now he's not all that confident.''
Said Dunn: "You've got to look at it like this - no matter , this isn't going to be my best year, statistically. I get it. I'm fine with it. But from here on out, my goal is to do whatever I can to help the team win that game, that day ... I get it. It's not going to be my best year. I'm fine with it. But that doesn't mean I still can't get hot and help the team win a bunch of games."
Walker sees that happening.
"I believe he's going to get a feel here sometime during this interleague or after and run it out and have a monster second half,'' he said. "I really do. I really believe that.''