HOUSTON -- Could Adam Dunn hit above .300 for a full season or even for a couple of weeks?
White Sox fans would take above .250 from the affable slugger who entered Sunday's contest in Houston with a .182 average and has had one full month above .230 during his three-year career for the South Siders. But Dunn also understands that a higher average doesn't necessarily translate to fulfilling his middle-of-the-order responsibilities.
"What bothers me is when I'm not getting on base at .350 or .380 or close to a .400 clip. Then I'm not doing what I normally do, what I need to do," Dunn said. "And again, I don't care if I'm hitting .200 or .150 as long as my on-base percentage is .350 to .400 and I'm scoring X amount of runs and driving in X amount of runs. That's to me what matters."
If Dunn's focus falls upon getting on base, scoring runs and driving in runs, then he has hit the target so far during the month of June. Dunn has six homers, 12 RBIs, 10 runs scored and 10 walks against just 11 strikeouts. He is 9-for-21 with five homers and nine RBIs over his last six games.
That all-important on-base percentage, still sitting at a dismal .281 for the season, has been at .397 during June. Dunn's average even checks in at .277 through 47 June at-bats, but the productiveness of those hits is what's important for Dunn. He isn't focused on winning a batting title and not really concerned about his average sitting below .200.
"I could selfishly bunt three times a game and probably hit .450 or something for the year. Break the record," said Dunn with a wry smile. "Yeah, I'm getting on base, but I'm not driving in runs, not doing what I'm supposed to do.
"Obviously, it's just tough because I know I'm capable of so much more, but yet I don't want to get caught up in thinking about the wrong thing. First and foremost, I want to drive in runs. That's what I'm here for, and any way I can do that, it's the way I need to do it."
Parent happy to help son learn about catching
HOUSTON -- Nick Parent, the eldest son of White Sox bench coach Mark Parent, begins his professional career on Monday when he reports to rookie-level Bristol as part of the Appalachian League. Parent was selected by the White Sox in the 36th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft and has been moved to catcher, working at Camelback Ranch in Arizona with Minor League catching instructor John Orton before reporting for games.
Behind the plate is where Mark Parent found himself for 427 of his 474 Major League games, and he'll be happy to help his son learn the position.
"Whatever he needs equipment-wise I'll give him, advice I'll give him, but I'm not going to make any calls to [Bristol manager Mike] Gellinger and say, 'Play my kid more.' That's up to him," Parent said. "When anybody is working, they have to get what they get.
"You think you deserve more? Try better. He's heard me say it many times to my guys. You don't like it any better, play better.
"That's nice that he gets to see if he can do it," Parent said. "It's an opportunity and I'm thankful the White Sox are giving him the opportunity. What he does with that opportunity is up to him."
Jake Parent, the younger of the bench coach's two sons who just graduated high school, also wants to pursue a baseball career, and the young man, standing well over 6-feet tall, has lost 40 pounds over the last year in preparation for this next step. But on Father's Day, Parent doesn't need baseball success to appreciate what his children have accomplished.
"I'm proud of my kids regardless," Parent said. "I told them when they were real young, 'You don't want to play baseball? Let's go surfing or do something.' It's what they chose and it's nice to have one with me for most of the summer like last year. I'm proud of my kids no matter what."
Ventura confident in Flowers' all-around abilities
HOUSTON -- The spotlight has fallen on Tyler Flowers since the start of 2013, when incumbent backstop A.J. Pierzynski departed for Texas via free agency. But the barbs thrown in Flowers' direction presently are centered on his on-field play as opposed to who he replaced.
Manager Robin Ventura cannot be counted among those detractors.
"Catching-wise, he's doing a great job calling a game. For me, the hitting has become better," said Ventura. "He's going to run into a guy where he does strike out. But the quality of at-bats has gotten better for me. And that's something we look at too.
"It's hard in this situation when we're losing games that you pinpoint one at-bat. You look at the quality of the at-bats, and it's getting better."
Flowers had 10 hits in his past 28 at-bats entering Sunday, with two homers and three RBIs. Through the offensive and defensive struggles, though, Flowers maintained the same sort of even-keel demeanor and high level of confidence.
"You can't point a finger, just play the game," Ventura said. "Make sure you take care of your own business, pick guys up and be a good teammate. As soon as you start looking for reasons, you can't make it back from that.
"Guys who go out there have to feel confident what he's calling. You see when guys don't gel, you can see how uncomfortable it gets and it becomes more of a grind. When they're in sync, and a pitcher can just throw, it becomes an easier game."
White Sox won't rush injured Wise back
HOUSTON -- Through two injury rehab games with Triple-A Charlotte, Dewayne Wise is 1-for-7 with a triple and a run scored. But there is no rush for the veteran outfielder, who has been on the disabled list since June 2 with a strained right hamstring, to return.
"You like everything in the toolbox when they come up," said manager Robin Ventura of Wise. "It's a health thing."
Ventura lent his support to Jordan Danks, who replaced Wise on the roster, despite Danks being picked off second to end Saturday's loss. It was a case of the young man trying too hard to make something happen.
Third to first
• Danny Hayes of Oregon St. finished 1-for-4 with an RBI in his team's 5-4 loss to Mississippi St. Saturday at the College World Series, while Adam Engel was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in Louisville's 2-0 loss to Indiana. Hayes was the 13th-round selection of the White Sox in the First-Year Player Draft, and Engel was selected in the 19th round.
• The White Sox have lost 20 games after taking a lead this season, including each of their last five losses entering Sunday afternoon's contest.