White Sox believe Dayan Viciedo capable of bigger things
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter July 8, 2014 11:21PM
Updated: July 9, 2014 9:20AM
BOSTON — Everyone sees a high ceiling for Dayan Viciedo. White Sox management sees it, and so do his teammates.
Other teams — the Seattle Mariners, for one — probably see it, too.
‘‘He’s a quality player,’’ said Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, a fellow Cuban. ‘‘I’ve always said that. He has a lot of talent. There are some ups and some downs, and he’s been working really hard this year. The success he’s having is due to that.
‘‘But there is no doubt there is way more in there. There is a lot more in there. And if he continues to work as hard as he has, he’ll get what he wants to get.’’
The success Abreu speaks of has been hit-and-miss with Vici-
edo, a powerful 5-11, 240-pounder with plenty of bat speed and pop to all fields but not much in the way of consistency.
‘‘You see the talent, but . . . he’s streaky,’’ manager Robin Ventura said before the Sox defeated the Boston Red Sox 8-3 on Tuesday for their third consecutive victory and eighth in their last 11 games. ‘‘He’ll go through periods where he does stuff like [Monday] night [a three-run home run to center], and we’ve seen it in the past where he can carry you for a week. Then he gets carried away trying to pull too much and hit it too far instead of just letting his talent and the contact part of it take over. Then he’ll fall back into a rough stretch until he finds it again.’’
When Viciedo, 25, hit 25 homers and drove in 78 runs in 2012, the Sox thought he had turned an
important corner. He hit for a slightly higher average last season (.265), but he slipped to 14 homers
and 56 RBI in 23 fewer games
because of a strained oblique.
Aside from an accurate throwing arm that has him ranked second among American League outfielders with 29 assists since 2012, Vici-
edo’s defense leaves you thinking his future is at designated hitter. Coupling that with the inconsistency might be enough to deal him to a team such as the Mariners, who need right-handed hitting and are known to be interested.
But his high ceiling might be reason enough for the Sox to hold on to him and see if he meets their expectations.
‘‘You look at [Red Sox slugger] David [Ortiz],’’ Ventura said. ‘‘With the Twins, it didn’t click in the first go-around. He had decent seasons, but you see what happens when you see the maturity process happen as a baseball player. Just because it doesn’t happen immediately doesn’t mean it’s not there.’’
So does Viciedo have more?
‘‘Oh, absolutely,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘I think there’s more there.’’
Viciedo was batting .333 with five homers in his last 10 games
before going 0-for-3 with a walk Tuesday. Conor Gillaspie had three hits, including a tiebreaking two-run homer inside the right-field foul pole; Abreu had three hits, including two doubles; Gordon Beckham broke an 0-for-21 slump with an RBI double in the ninth; and Alejandro De Aza had an RBI triple and a run-scoring single.
John Danks (8-6) labored through 52/3 innings to earn the victory, allowing three runs, eight hits and four walks. Ronald Beli-
sario pitched 21/3 scoreless innings
before Eric Surkamp worked a scoreless ninth.
The defending World Series champion Red Sox fell to 39-51.
‘‘I’ve been there,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘It’s tough. Every team has been through that. A play here, a pitch there [makes a difference]. We’re just going to continue to play.’’