CINCINNATI - With one game in the books, the Adam Dunn experiment appears to be a success.
Reds' manager Jerry Narron decided to start Dunn at the No. 2 spot in the lineup and the slugger responded with two homeruns and a walk.
Last season Dunn batted .234 with 40 homeruns but slumped late in the season as the Reds fell out of contention.
Narron doesn't plan to have a static batting order and said Dunn could bat elsewhere depending on the situation.
“There (will be) times he hits third or fourth,” said Narron. “A lot of it depends on if we have a left handed pitcher on the mound or if Ryan Freel is not playing or we got somebody else hitting first. The thing about ‘Dunner' hitting second is that he's a pretty good on-base percentage guy. I love seeing the lineup turn over and him coming up pretty quick. He's the most intimidating guy we've got.”
Dunn's homeruns made a significant dent in the score and left their mark on Reds history as well. Coming into the game Dunn was tied with Barry Larkin for having the seventh-most homeruns in Reds' history at 198. Now with 200, he is in sole possession of seventh and only three homers behind Eric Davis with 203. Dunn is also now the Reds all-time leader in opening day homeruns with five.
Dunn certainly didn't mind the shift in batting order and said it shouldn't change his style of play.
“I don't think second is going to change my approach except maybe in certain situation,” said Dunn. “I'm not going to go out there and try to leg out a bunt or anything. Maybe in certain situations I'll try and force myself to get a guy over but early in the game I'm just gonna swing away.
“I'm gonna hit my homers,” Dunn said. “Not that I'm just going up there to try and hit homeruns but I'm gonna hit homers. I don't know how many. I might only hit two but for me the big thing is to make good contact and let the ball go where it may.”
With Freel leading off, Dunn's RBI numbers could go up as well. Last season, Dunn finished with 92 RBI but Freel led the team in stolen bases with 37, meaning Dunn could have a runner in scoring position much more often.
NOTES: Dunn in the only player in Reds history besides Ted Kluszewski to hit 40 homers in three consecutive seasons... Dunn holds the record for the longest homerun hit at Great American Ball Park with a distance of 535 feet... The second homerun sailed over the batters' eye in centerfield, bounced onto Mehring Way and landed on a piece of driftwood floating in the Ohio River... Dunn has led the Reds in homeruns each of the last five seasons... In 2006, Dunn was second in the National League in walks... Dunn is the only player in Reds history to record over 100 walks, runs and RBI in a season more than once.
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at email@example.com