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White Sox getting production out of left-handed hitters

Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 4:06 p.m. CDT

(MCT) — Although the Chicago White Sox’s lineup has come under some scrutiny for its high strikeout total, there is one aspect that is more encouraging than the results of each of its past two seasons.

That would be its production from the left side, where catcher A.J. Pierzynski has taken advantage of his run-producing opportunities from the fifth spot, and Adam Dunn has shown signs of improvement from the third spot.

Through eight games, Sox left-handed hitters have accounted for half of the team’s 30 RBIs. That’s more encouraging than 2011, when since-departed leadoff batter Juan Pierre accounted for 50 of the 182 RBIs by the left-handed hitters, or in 2010, when the Sox’s left-handed hitters produced only 186 RBIs (before Dunn’s arrival).

“We’re only eight games in, but it’s been good,” said Pierzynski, who was 3-for-8 with five RBIs with runners in scoring position entering play Monday. “I’ve been coming up a lot because Paul (Konerko) and Dunn have been getting on base, and I’ve got some hits.

“I went into the year thinking I was going to hit second, but they put (Brent) Morel there and like having Morel there. I’ve been the No. 5 hitter, and it’s good. I hit behind Paul and have (Alex) Rios protect me (in the sixth spot).”

The biggest challenge for Dunn, in addition to cutting down his strikeouts, will be improving last season’s .142 batting average with runners in scoring position.

“He’s done fine,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s going to have strikeouts. But we want him to be aggressive and go to the plate with confidence. He’s done that. And the work he’s done in spring and here, I like what he’s doing. I like what you’re going to see from him in the future.”

HICKEY TRANSFERRED: White Sox batting practice pitcher Kevin Hickey was transported to Rush University Medical Center, where he remains unresponsive while showing minor signs of improvement.

Hickey, 56, who pitched for the Sox from 1981-83 and Baltimore from 1989-91, has been unresponsive since being taken to Parkland Hospital in Dallas on April 5 when he failed to show up for the team’s workout that morning.

EXTRA INNINGS: The Sox and pitcher Kip Wells mutually parted ways, less than two weeks after Wells, 34, agreed to a minor league contract despite not having pitched in the majors since 2009. … The Sox aren’t scheduled to face 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez this weekend at Seattle.

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