Dayan Viciedo struggling in left field, at plate
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org March 23, 2012 10:02PM
Dayan Viciedo has been shaky in left field and is hitting only .121 in the Cactus League. | Marcio Jose Sanchez~AP
Updated: April 25, 2012 8:11AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dayan Viciedo looked more at ease in right field last spring than he has in left field this spring, which might cause manager Robin Ventura to revisit his preferred alignment with Alejandro De Aza in center and Alex Rios in right.
Viciedo made an error in left in the White Sox’ split-squad loss Friday to the Dodgers. He hasn’t been fluid moving to balls on the ground in left, either. General manager Ken Williams described Viciedo’s defense as shaky.
“He’s certainly more comfortable in right; that’s obvious,’’ Williams said. “He has to keep working. He’s a kid we’ve moved around a bit from third to first to right to left. It’s going to take him some time. We all saw he took to right field adeptly; it’s something Robin and the coaches are talking about, and if he doesn’t, we can make an adjustment.’’
Rios played center last year and returned to his more comfortable place in right. He has been OK there, showing an arm that looks better suited for left, but he has played very little left field in his career. The same goes for fourth outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, a right and center fielder.
“They all are interchangeable,’’ Williams said. “We’ll do whatever is best for the club defensively.’’
Viciedo is in the fourth year of a $10 million contract. He also has had a rough spring at the plate, although he got everybody’s attention by hitting three home runs in a Class AAA game Thursday, a day after having a tooth pulled.
On Friday, he was 0-for-3 with a strikeout against the Dodgers, leaving five runners on base. His average fell to .121.
Right-hander Jesse Crain threw his first bullpen session in more than a week, and signs were on the encouraging side that his strained right oblique is progressing. Crain threw 35 pitches.
“He will throw a bullpen on Sunday, and we anticipate he will be fine,’’ pitching coach Don Cooper said. “He threw all his pitches and threw all of them well. It was a good sideline.”
Crain’s name has been dropped from the closer discussion while sidelined. Cooper said it could resurface when Crain gets back on track. Cooper reiterated what Ventura said of the closer decision, that it will go down to the wire.
“Kind of what we said all along,’’ Cooper said. “You guys asked me Feb. 27. I said, ‘Come back March 27.’ Nothing’s really going to change there. We’re still evaluating.
“We’ve got options, and that’s a good thing.”
He shall return
Righty Nestor Molina, the top pitching prospect acquired from the Blue Jays in the somewhat-surprising trade of 2011 closer Sergio Santos, impressed before he was optioned to Class AA Birmingham last week.
“If it were up to the coaching staff, they would probably carry Molina on this club,’’ Williams said. “But we think he has such a bright future as a starter, he needs at least to get through a half-year and get some innings in. We’ll see how he’s doing at that point.’’
After getting rocked for five runs in 11/3 innings by the Dodgers in the first Cactus League game, Molina made two scoreless appearances.
“His stuff, pitchability, ability to throw strikes and throw the changeup in any count’’ impressed Williams.