Friday, Aug. 13, 2010
By Brett Ballantini
While Chicago White Sox slugger Dayan Viciedo failed to stick with the big club through the dog days of August, the 21-year-old was encouraged by the teams faith in him and was confident hed be rejoining the team soon, perhaps for good.
The team speaks to me clearly and tells me exactly what they expect from me, Viciedo said after Thursdays game, when the young star was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte to make room for Mark Teahen, a callup the White Sox will announce later on Friday. That means a lot.
Viciedo is a rather dramatic free swinger, failing to draw a base on balls in 82 at-bats this season while striking out 16 times. He ended Chicagos first-inning rally vs. Francisco Liriano by drawing a 3-0 count and then flying out deep to center field one strike later. He would end his final game in Chicago 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
I dont take many walks, Viciedo said, by way of explaining his style. Anything in the zone, Im going to take my swings at.
Viciedo demonstrated impressive power in his time with the White Sox, belting three home runs in 27 games with the club, slugging .451 in spite of a recent one-of-19 slump that plunged his batting average from above .300 down to .268. Lofty comps, yes, but he is capable of screamers to the wall heretofore seen from Chisox legends like Dick Allen and Frank Thomas.
The corner infielder previously appeared in 62 games with the Knights this season, sporting an .855 OPS with 14 doubles, 14 homers and 34 RBI. He drew eight walks opposed by 52 Ks in the minors.
It was just two weeks ago that White Sox general manager Ken Williams rather surprisingly admitted that Viciedo was an untouchable, placing him on the same plane as esteemed middle infielder Gordon Beckham: Hes just 21 and is going to be a major force in the game.
Viciedo admitted that his first taste of the big leagues was an eye opener.
This is where you come to fight every day, he said. You have to bring youre A-game. The competition here is the best.
Despite the setback, Viciedo said that the coaching staff simply implored him to continue working hard. Primarily a third baseman with the big club, Viciedo just this afternoon was working through some grueling drills to improve on his lateral defense and barehanded plays with White Sox bench coach Joey Cora. Cora has previously admitted being impressed with Viciedos third-base defense and has proclaimed him major-league ready.
With such endorsementsmanager Ozzie Guillen has been very complimentary toward Viciedo as wellthe youngster isnt wrong to anticipate a swift return.
I hope to be back soon, he said with a smile, and a posture of determination.
Teahen rejoins the Sox for the first time since being placed on the disabled list with a fractured right middle finger on May 31. Before the injury, Teahen was hitting .255 with three home runs and 14 RBI. In 11 games spent rehabbing with the Knights, Teahen hit .364 with four RBI in 33 at-bats and saw action in right field as well as his primary position of third base.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.