Dayan Viciedo’s strength, bat speed can be detrimental
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org August 3, 2013 11:26PM
Tigers reliever Phil Coke has a good view as Dayan Viciedo makes the catch on a ball hit by Victor Martinez in the sixth inning. | AP
Updated: September 5, 2013 7:07AM
DETROIT — Left fielder Dayan Viciedo’s exceptional bat speed is a source of pride. It also can be a source of problems.
Viciedo smiles a broad smile when his strength comes up in conversation. Teammates marvel at it.
“It’s a good thing, but a lot of times it gets me in trouble because I’m out there [in front of the ball],’’ Viciedo said Saturday. “I see the ball so big that it gets me in trouble. Sometimes I don’t allow my hands to work. I use my body more than I need because my hands are so quick.’’
Viciedo has taken a step back production-wise this season.
After going 0-for-2 Saturday, he’s batting .252 with nine home runs and 32 RBI, well below what the White Sox were counting on after he hit .255 with 25 homers and 78 RBI in his first full season in 2012.
Attempts by hitting coach Jeff Manto, assistant hitting coach Harold Baines and manager Robin Ventura to improve his timing had mixed results. A leg-lift experiment during spring didn’t work.
“Yeah, we’re done with the mechanical thing,’’ Manto said. “We’ve tried many different things between Robin, myself and Baines.
‘‘He’s better off, he’s more comfortable doing what he’s doing now, making sure he gets a good pitch to hit.’’
Viciedo is only 24. With this lost season, Manto wants to see his recent trend continue into next year. He was hitting .378 over his previous 10 games and .310 with four homers and 10 RBI over the last 27.
“He has to land in a good position to hit,’’ Manto said. ‘‘He has a real good bat path. He gets his front leg out so fast that it’s hard to see how good it is. When you slow it down, there isn’t much wrong with it. When he gets his foot down early or in a better position, he’s as good as anybody.’’
Playing it cruel
Losing has left Ventura dipping into his vocabulary for words he’d rather not use, including “cruel” for the second time in two days Saturday while standing up for his staff.
The Sox’ .247 batting average ranked 10th of 15 American League teams, and they were last in runs with 392 after ranking fourth last season, prompting a question about his support of Manto.
“That’s just baseball,’’ Ventura said. “It’s frustrating. It can be cruel in all those weird ways, but it doesn’t mean he knows more or less. It just means everyone is still trying to figure it out.’’
General manager Rick Hahn voiced his support for Ventura and his staff earlier in the week.
“We’re all working hard and doing everything,’’ Ventura said.
This and that
Paul Konerko, who has been dealing with minor back issues, played first base for the first time since June 23 in Kansas City. Adam Dunn was the designated hitter.
◆ The Sox requested waivers on Dewayne Wise to grant him his unconditional release. Wise, 35, has been on the disabled list since June 2 with a right hamstring strain and a right oblique strain.