Streaky Viciedo singles, homers in White Sox win
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter June 17, 2014 10:22PM
Updated: June 18, 2014 12:03AM
Dayan Viciedo softened the blow of Avisail Garcia’s injury by hitting .348 with nine RBI in 26 games in April. Before picking up a single in the third inning, then hitting a two-run, 426-foot home run off Giants starter Matt Cain in the fifth that gave the Sox an 8-2 lead Tuesday, the White Sox right fielder had been hitting .185 since May 1.
Viciedo, who always has been a streaky hitter, might gain consistency by taking something off his full-throttle swing, manager Robin Ventura said before the game.
“Earlier in the year, he was a little more handsy,’’ Ventura said. “He’s had that in the past, where an injury actually helps him slow it down and just use his hands.’’
Viciedo swung easier and batted .360 in 18 games after returning from an oblique strain last May.
“It’s one of those swings where he doesn’t get a lot of hits, but, still, he has that ability, and you’ve seen when he gets hot, he can carry a ballclub,’’ Ventura said.
Too much rest
When closer Ronald Belisario got into the Sox’ 6-3 loss Sunday against the Royals, it was his first appearance in six days. That’s how it goes when your team’s not winning.
“I had to get the rust off,’’ said Belisario, who pitched a scoreless ninth Sunday. “I have to see some hitters; I can’t be without pitching four or five days.’’
Belisario was successful in his three save opportunities in June. He’s 6-for-8 in save opportunities since taking over for Matt Lindstrom.
“I love it,’’ he said. “It’s exciting. I like being a setup man, but closing is more pressure — and more fun.’’
Bench coach Mark Parent, a Padres teammate of Tony Gwynn’s in his first five years in the majors, remembers Gwynn as being “the best player on the field” in the Instructional League, a relentless worker and having a happy disposition in all circumstances.
“He worked harder than anybody, he expected his teammates to do that, and very early on, he found out that his teammates weren’t going to put in the time he did,’’ Parent said. “It was next to impossible. His preparation before a game . . . the laughter before and after a game, whether he was 0-for-4 or 5-for-5, was always the same.
“Whatever statue they have [for him in San Diego] is not big enough.’’
Parent and Gwynn, who were teammates as minor- and major-leaguers, were neighbors. Parent’s wife taught Gwynn’s children how to swim.
“Tony was my friend,’’ Parent said.