CHICAGO – Adam Dunn knows one of the big reasons people are talking about his 2012 season is because of what happened the year before.
To fully appreciate his .204 batting average, consider that it was more than 40 points higher than the previous year. His 41 homers not only came close to denying Tigers' star Miguel Cabrera a triple crown but amounted to 30 more homers than he hit in 2011. And he drove in 96 runs, more than twice his total a year earlier.
None of that was lost on the Chicago White Sox designated hitter who on Tuesday was named by The Sporting News the American League comeback player of the year.
"It's an award I hope I never win again," said Dunn, who has been around long enough to know that the only way a player wins that award is either because he is coming back from an injury or a miserable season. "I'm very appreciative of this award, but I really wish I never would have won it."
In a conference call with reporters, Dunn didn't want to talk about 2011, when he had one of the worst statistical seasons in major league history, batting just .159 with a White Sox record 177 strikeouts. Instead, he reminded reporters that the player they saw in 2012 was a lot more like the player he once was.
"It's not something I haven't done in eight, nine years," said Dunn who before coming to the White Sox put together a string of seven straight seasons with at least 38 homers.
Dunn said he also hasn't gotten over the disappointment of the Sox coming up short after leading the American League Central before falling behind the Detroit Tigers at the very end of the season. And it hasn't helped that the Tigers are now in the World Series.
"I was like, 'It's going to end up being Detroit because that's like pouring salt into the wounds," he said. "And sure enough ... ."