White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto likes what he sees in Dayan Viciedo
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com February 21, 2013 11:14PM
The Chicago White Sox Dayan Viciedo takes batting practice in the cages during a rainy day at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, AZ on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 23, 2013 6:31AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Outfielder Dayan Viciedo is working on a small front-leg lift with hitting coach Jeff Manto, who said the wrinkle isn’t that complicated and won’t be difficult for Viciedo to adapt to.
Viciedo said the change is going well.
‘‘It should help with my timing,’’ he said Thursday.
Manto emphasized the change is subtle.
‘‘He’s been very receptive to it,’’ Manto said. ‘‘We explained why we think it would be best for him. We told him this is what we think; if he doesn’t like it, he can go back to what he’s been doing. We’re not forcing it on him at all. But it’s something he’s enjoying.’’
Viciedo, who will turn 24 on March 10, batted .255 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI in his first full season in 2012. He walked 28 times and struck out 120.
‘‘I think we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg with this guy,’’ Manto said. ‘‘He has a lot of room to get better, which is kind of crazy to say when you see his numbers. But I really do think he’s going to get better.’’
Making an impression
Andre Rienzo, a 6-3 right-hander who has a good chance to pitch for the Sox at some point this season, struck out Viciedo on a slider and caught catcher Tyler Flowers looking at a third strike in two innings in an intrasquad game.
‘‘Everything you hear about him, you see the poise that he has out there and the stuff,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.
Rienzo, 23, will leave for Japan on Tuesday to pitch for Brazil in the World Baseball Classic. He’ll start Game 1 on March 2.
‘‘It was a good experience to throw to guys [like Paul] Konerko, [Gordon] Beckham,’’ Rienzo said. ‘‘You kind of don’t believe it. You see the guys on TV, and now I see the guys [in the] locker right there. It’s crazy to be here. I hope to impress somebody.’’
Rienzo, who served a 50-game suspension last season for testing positive for metabolites of stanozolol, was going to start a Cactus League game next week, but the Sox adjusted his schedule to have him pitch an inning Monday against the San Francisco Giants because of his WBC commitment.
Back on schedule
Left-handed reliever Matt Thornton (elbow tendinitis) planned to play catch Thursday, will do so again Friday, will throw a bullpen session Saturday and perhaps will throw live batting practice Monday.
Thornton, 36, described the MRI exam taken Tuesday as ‘‘over-the-top precautionary’’ and said he expects to take his scheduled turn in a Cactus League game March 5.
‘‘I’m fine,’’ Thornton said. ‘‘I’m worried about April 1 [Opening Day]. That’s all I care about.’’
‘‘I think the concern level has gone down,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘We’re not in the orange area anymore. I think it would be yellow.’’
This and that
Right-hander Dylan Axelrod will start the Cactus League opener Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Right-hander Erik Johnson will start Sunday, left-hander Hector Santiago will start Monday and right-hander Nestor Molina will start Tuesday.
† Third baseman Brent Morel had an RBI triple and outfielder Blake Tekotte an RBI triple in an intrasquad game. Right-hander Simon Castro allowed a run in two innings. Outfielder Keenyn Walker, the Sox’ first-round pick in 2011, misplayed a couple of fielding chances but doubled to right-center.