Dunn (oblique) misses fifth consecutive game, hopes to return during Tigers series

CHICAGO -- Slugger Adam Dunn is getting closer to returning, but he was out of the White Sox lineup for a fifth consecutive game Tuesday as Chicago's showdown series with the Tigers continued.

Exactly how close Dunn is to returning depends on whom you talk with.

"I feel good, man," Dunn, tied for second in the American League with 38 home runs, said before Tuesday's game. "I want to swing so bad. I'm hoping to play [Wednesday]."

Thursday is more realistic, said Sox manager Robin Ventura, who is determined not to allow his slugger to make the same mistake he made after first suffering the oblique strain in late August. Then, Dunn missed two games in Detroit over Labor Day Weekend, tried to play and wound up tweaking the oblique again.

Ventura did upgrade Dunn's status Tuesday. After terming it "hour to hour" on Monday, Ventura joked Tuesday that the slugger now is "half-hour to half-hour."

As for Dunn's hopes of returning to play against the Tigers on Wednesday, Ventura said, "That's probably a little optimistic. He's lobbying hard. Maybe Thursday."

Among the things that Sox and head trainer Herm Schneider are faced is protecting Dunn from himself. And Dunn knows it.

"I wish I wouldn't have tried to come back so soon," Dunn said. "That was stupid. I took two days off and we were swept by Detroit, and I tried to play and it was just stupid on my part.

"I feel bad. Robin trusts his players so much, and he was going on what I told him. And now, I've had it taken out of my hands."

The Sox led the Tigers by three games heading into the second game of a four-game series Tuesday evening.

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