MINNEAPOLIS -- As major-league home-run leader Adam Dunn inches closer to No. 400 in his career, it's difficult to gauge how many more he'll hit before his career is over.
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"Hopefully a lot,'' Dunn said. "There's not a number that sticks out, but I'd like to play long enough where you can sit back and go, 'That was good.' Obviously, 400 is a ton of home runs, but I'd like to have more.''
How long he plays is the key, and that depends solely on one thing: How long the game stays fun for the big 32-year-old Texan.
"I don't know because my dad told me this a long time ago: As soon as you stop having fun, it's time to stop,'' Dunn said before the Sox opened a three-game series against the Twins with a 7-6 loss on Monday night. "If I come here tomorrow and it feels like work as opposed to something I really love doing every day, I'll walk into [manager Robin Ventura's office] -- I promise you I will -- and say, 'I'm done; I can't do this any more.' ''
Dunn hit his 31st of the season and 396th of his career Saturday against the Rangers. Not being a numbers-cruncher or stat-tracker, he said he knows he's close to 400 but doesn't know how close.
"I'm not going to sit here and say I don't care about it because I do,'' he said. "But it's not like this is my last year and my lifelong dream is to hit 400 homers. I have a lot more to go, I hope.''
Dunn hit his 199th and 200th homers on Opening Day 2007 against the Cubs in Cincinnati and his 300th on July 4, 2009, into the second deck at Nationals Park as a Washington National. As significant to him was his 385th this season because he surpassed Sox first-base coach Harold Baines with that one.
"That was really cool because I always loved Harold Baines,'' Dunn said. "I wanted that ball, and he signed it and personalized it to me, which was really cool.''
Dunn is on pace for 50 this year, one more than Albert Belle's franchise record set in 1996. Reaching 500 for his career is close to a sure thing if Dunn stays healthy, and he could approach that before his contract runs out with the Sox at the end of 2015. Entering 600 territory is possible if Dunn plays six more seasons and averages 30. But he'd have to age well.
And he can't stop enjoying the game.
"I don't see that happening for a long time,'' Dunn said. "Especially now with what we have in place here. I love coming to the ballpark. This is as much fun as I can remember having in baseball.''
Dunn's fun comes from winning -- he played on mostly losing teams before signing with the Sox before the 2011 season -- but that's not where it ends. For him, the joy is in competing.
"When you're in the field or hitting,'' Dunn said, ''it's three hours of competition. You vs. the pitcher, one-on-one. That's something you can't get anywhere else. Whenever that becomes not enjoyable, I'm done.''