Adam Dunn has sat out the last two games with a sore knee, leading to speculation he could be placed on the disabled list to make room for Dayan Viciedo.
Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago writes that Guillen didn’t even know which knee was bothering Dunn, speculating that the injury may simply be a way for the White Sox to get him out of the lineup and on to the disabled list for an extended break. -- Hardball Talk
It's been a theme this season to look for things that may not be there regarding Dunn -- for instance, every time he has a good game, calling it a "turning point" or something to that effect. Every time, that far-reaching claim hasn't come true.
This Dunn-to-the-DL rumor? Probably not true, either. Daryl Van Schouwen seemed to clear everything up with Ozzie Guillen:
“It’s a very important series for us, and hopefully he can go there,’’ Guillen said. “A couple of days hopefully will help him.”
That doesn't sound like a manager who is angling to put Dunn on the disabled list over something that appears to be fairly minor. The phantom disabled list is a known entity in baseball, and while I'm sure it's frowned upon, it does exist as a last-ditch option for a team that wants to create roster space without losing a player.
It's not an option the White Sox should be expected to take, though. Even with Dunn's monumental struggles, the team's best chance at winning the AL Central is with Dunn playing like the Dunn of Cincinnati, Arizona and Washington.
Of course, the chances of Dunn turning things around get slimmer and slimmer as his strikeout total fattens. A shot in the arm in the form of Dayan Viciedo is exactly what this team needs, although the Sox don't have to put Dunn on the disabled list to go that route.
The first option would be to demote Brent Morel to Triple-A and call up Viciedo. But that's putting a whole lot of faith in the abilities of Mark Teahen and Omar Vizquel to handle third base. Morel's defense is good enough to justify keeping him on the roster, even if it means some pretty bad offensive numbers.
The second option would be to designate Brent Lillibridge for assignment. After his torrid start, Lillibridge has worse than Dunn at the plate. He's acting as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement, which provides value -- Lillibridge is skilled both as a baserunner and outfielder -- but those may not be skills worthy enough of keeping him on the roster in light of the team's offensive issues.
The third option, and the one that would shake up the team the most, would be to designated Lillibridge for assignment and give Vizquel an honorable discharge. Last season was awesome for Vizquel, but he's 44 and has a .298 on-base percentage. His defensive ability isn't good, either -- he still has good hands and all that, but his arm strength makes Juan Pierre appear to have a missle launcher for an arm.
Of course, that's a fairly unlikely option given Guillen's deep connection with Vizquel. But if the Sox were to shed Lillibridge and Vizquel for Viciedo and Alejandro de Aza, it could be a decent enough jolt to keep the Sox afloat as they wait for Dunn to surface.