DETROIT -- Jeff Manto just might have helped Adam Dunn with his humorous words of wisdom as much as his prescribed hitting drills and advice.
During a recent interview on MLB Network's Rundown show, Dunn spoke about Manto "keeping it real" and then let loose with this humorous anecdote from Spring Training.
"He probably said one of the cooler comments ever made to me," said Dunn during the interview. "He said, 'Don't try to be a good hitter, because you are not.' It stuck with me."
When Dunn was asked what that statement meant, he said that Manto was trying to "loosen me up."
"I like to laugh," Dunn said. "And that made me laugh."
Manto supported Dunn's assertion that he was simply trying to ease the stress for the slugger coming off his rough 2011 debut with the White Sox. That plan seems to have worked to perfection, with Dunn's ninth-inning blast off Jose Valverde in Saturday's victory and first-inning homer in Sunday's 3-1 setback giving him nine homers and four in his last five games.
If Dunn is hitting homers, driving in runs and getting on base, then he's doing the job the White Sox intended.
"I'm sure that if we asked him to hit .300, he probably could," said Manto. "You saw the balls he has been hitting. If we asked him to shut down his swing a little bit, I'm sure he could hit .290 to .300. We aren't interested in that. We are looking for quality at-bats with runners on base and take what we can.
"Sometimes, when you become cautious, you try to do things you aren't normally used to doing. He was trying to be such a good hitter, trying to be the guy that hit .330 and still hit 40 homers, I just told him to be himself and that was the thing behind it. 'Don't be a good hitter, just be yourself.'"
And with Dunn in consistently good position to hit, big things should come from the designated hitter.
"As long as he's swinging at good pitches, it's going to produce hits and good things," said White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko of Dunn. "He's a big guy, so he'll probably produce some homers.
"He's got the bat speed and it's not simple, but when you see him getting into the position he's getting into, again it's only bad pitch selection that can do him in. He's in a good position to hit."
Crain pushing to return from oblique strain
DETROIT -- With a right oblique strain to deal with during Spring Training and a left oblique strain sending him to the disabled list retroactive to April 21, Jesse Crain has learned more about the injury than he ever cared to know.
"I definitely think it's something that I can learn from and hopefully change some things, whether it's how I work out or stretch or stuff like that," Crain said. "It happens. You play so many games and this is the first time it has happened to me. I'm lucky it hasn't happened more often.
"It's frustrating because I don't know exactly what caused it, and I want to be out there pitching. But it's a long season and it's more important to be out there longer than short term."
Crain threw on Saturday and actually got a little bit off the mound but wasn't totally letting it go. The good sign for the right-hander is that he pushed his effort a little harder and didn't aggravate the injury.
"You feel good pretty much with everything, you feel normal getting out of bed and coming to the park," Crain said. "Then, just once you get throwing and trying to get on top of the ball in the 'pen or on flat ground, it's kind of there. You kind of fight through it.
"There's a fine line between fighting through it and knowing if it's getting worse or whatever. I think it's definitely on the upswing. It's getting better."
The next goal for Crain is to throw a full bullpen session on Monday, and then move to a Minor League injury rehab assignment. But Crain will let his body dictate when that rehab trip begins.
"If I'm still feeling it throwing in the 'pen and I can't let it go all the way, I don't think I'm ready," Crain said. "But if I'm in the 'pen and I'm able to say this feels good ...
"Only I can tell that. It's my body, so as soon as that happens, I think I'll be ready. Hopefully it's Monday, but it's day by day."
Beckham not concerned with power supply
DETROIT -- Gordon Beckham has knocked out four doubles and two homers among his 17 hits. The second baseman has shown extra-base potential throughout his career, averaging 25 doubles and 11 homers per season.
But Beckham is focused more on being a good hitter, as opposed to being a good power hitter.
"When I'm doing the right thing, the extra-base hits happen," Beckham said. "They are going to come, so that's one thing you can't worry about. You have to let that naturally happen.
"I don't try to say, 'I'm going to hit this here.' I'm just going up there getting ready to hit and getting into a good position and letting it loose and hoping that it goes in the gap or goes over a fence or finds a hole or something like that. I don't really care where it goes."
Before Sunday's tilt, Beckham was 8-for-17 in May, with five RBIs and four runs scored. He has put the worries of hitting behind him and just let his natural ability take over.
"There's only so much you can worry about and I finally just said, 'I'm tired of doing it,'" Beckham said. "I want to do what I know how to do. I don't want to let anything else muddy that water, I guess is what I would say."
Stults to start nightcap of DH in Cleveland
DETROIT -- Eric Stults will be called up from Triple-A Charlotte on Monday to start the night portion of a day-night doubleheader in Cleveland. The White Sox are allowed to expand their roster to 26 for a doubleheader under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The southpaw Stults had a 2.20 ERA in five starts for the Knights. Dylan Axelrod started in Chris Sale's spot Sunday, with Sale being moved from the rotation to closer, but Axelrod was optioned to Charlotte after allowing two runs over 4 1/3 innings in a 3-1 loss to the Tigers.
A fifth starter won't truly be needed after Monday until May 15, when factoring in Thursday's off-day. That spot could go to Stults or 23-year-old Colombian native Jose Quintana, who will be called up from Double-A Birmingham on Monday, as reported by numerous media outlets Sunday.
Quintana, also a left-hander, has 26 strikeouts and 11 walks over 35 1/3 innings for Double-A Birmingham's rotation and last started on May 1.
"We'll see how it goes and make decisions based on how the next week shakes out," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We're still going over stuff after we put Sale in the bullpen. I don't think anything is concrete."
Third to first
Both Dayan Viciedo and Gordon Beckham were hit by pitches during Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Tigers but both escaped with bruises. Beckham was hit on the inside of his left hand by Rick Porcello with two outs in the fifth but stayed in the contest. Viciedo was hit on the point of the right elbow by Porcello in the seventh and exited, but X-rays were negative.
The White Sox are 2-4 during their stretch of 15 consecutive games against the American League Central. Jake Peavy will not throw a side bullpen before Wednesday's start in Cleveland. He plans to focus on serious throwing sessions off flat ground after his 122-pitch effort Friday, but reports no abnormal soreness.