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updated: 6/22/2011 11:23 PM

Nats GM Rizzo still believes in Dunn

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Mike Rizzo did everything he could to re-sign Adam Dunn.

The Washington GM spoke to Dunn and his people on several occasions last summer and again in the fall, hoping Dunn would return to D.C. in 2011.

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It didn't work out, but Rizzo said from Washington on Wednesday that he doesn't feel like he dodged a bullet because Dunn is off to an awful start.

"No, not at all. Adam Dunn is a heck of a hitter and he's going to come out of this. I just hope it's after we leave town," said Rizzo, whose Nationals will face the White Sox on the South Side for three games beginning Friday. "I'm a big believer in a guy with a track record like his."

In two years with Washington, Dunn averaged 158 games, 38 homers, 104 RBI, 96 walks, a .264 average and a .910 OPS.

That is strikingly close to his last seven years when he averaged 158 games, 40 homers, 101 RBI, 107 walks, a .253 average and a .914 OPS.

Rizzo is certain that someone's going to pay for Dunn's horrendous start.

"He's put up such consistent numbers for so long that I don't have any doubt about what's coming," said Rizzo, a longtime Rolling Meadows resident before his move to Arizona and then Washington. "I expect him to heat up and make life miserable for a lot of teams the White Sox play the next few months.

"I haven't seen him play, so I just have to think it has a lot to do with the (appendectomy) surgery early in the season."

Dunn had a homer, 4 walks and 4 RBI through five games with a .286 average and a 1.045 OPS, before missing a week after the surgery.

Since then, he's been atrocious, with a .167 average, 6 homers and 24 RBI in 57 games with 88 strikeouts in 245 plate appearances.

In June, Dunn has 2 homers, 6 RBI and 22 strikeouts in 56 trips, and he sat Wednesday because of terrible career numbers against Doug Davis and against all lefties this season.

Dunn, with 7 strikeouts in his last 11 at-bats overall, received mock cheers Tuesday for getting bat on a ball for an infield popout.

"This is the toughest thing he's ever been through," Rizzo said. "But I know him. He'll make it through this and he's going to earn his money."

As for Washington, Rizzo offered Dunn arbitration, and when Dunn declined and signed with the Sox, the Nats received the 23rd and 34th picks in this year's draft as compensation.

Considering Rizzo's brilliant drafting both in Arizona and now in Washington, he probably feels quite good about the outcome, though he'd never say that out loud.

"Hey, we wanted him back," Rizzo said. "There's a lot of factors in play here for him, like a new league, new pitchers, new position and that may all be secondary to a surgery that set him back and didn't put him on the right track early on.

"I think he'll find it sometime during this season and I just hope I'm out of town when he gets angry and makes someone pay."

Best move

A.J. Pierzynski pulling Jake Peavy into the tunnel to have words instead of allowing the cameras to record the entire discussion in the dugout, after Peavy yelled at his catcher while leaving the field and being taken out of the game.

This is the least surprising conflict of all time, since Peavy is admittedly too emotional at times and Pierzynski is probably the most annoying teammate of all time.

But both are pros, both compete hard and both want to win, so there are going to be verbal disagreements, especially about pitch selection.

This kind of thing happens on teams much more than the public generally knows, and in this case it was no big deal.

The Daily Quade

Earlier this week, Mike Quade was excusing a play Jeff Baker didn't make in right field at Wrigley Field when he said, "That play in right is tough for (Kosuke) Fukudome to make, and he's about as good as they get in right field, probably since the Whistler."

There's only a couple problems with that. "The Whistler," Billy Williams, played left field, and while the Hall of Famer was about the prettiest hitter you'll ever see, he was a below average fielder who worked hard to make himself better.

Using current metrics, he was actually worse in the outfield than Alfonso Soriano.

Worst play

Doug Davis forgetting to throw to first Wednesday while lamenting the White Sox' suicide squeeze that scored their third run of the fourth inning.

Best sign

The Cubs' Chris Carpenter was throwing 100 mph Wednesday and looked much more confident than he did over the weekend against the Yanks. If he throws strikes like he did Wednesday, that's closer-type stuff and he could be a very valuable part of the future.

Best stat

Sergio Santos: 2 games, 2 saves, 7 batters, 7 outs, 5 strikeouts.

And finally …

TBS' Conan O'Brien, on Jack McKeon: "The new manager of the Florida Marlins is 80 years old. This makes him the oldest man working in baseball -- and the youngest man working in Florida."

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.

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