Chicago White Sox: Defense

Defensive shortcomings to be addressed

August, 28, 2014
Aug 28
11:11
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Team defense will be addressed in the offseason, which means the Chicago White Sox could be looking for a new left fielder come 2015.

[+] EnlargeAlejandro De Aza, Adam Eaton
David Banks/Getty ImagesLeft fielder Alejandro De Aza made this catch against the Indians despite colliding with Adam Eaton, but overall has been a defensive liability all season.
Just one batter into Thursday’s eventual 3-2 defeat to the Cleveland Indians, Alejandro De Aza misplayed a ball along the left-field stands into a triple. It led to a quick 1-0 Indians lead and the White Sox were left to play catch-up much of the night.

That it was a low-scoring affair Thursday only highlighted the impact one misplay can have.

De Aza and Dayan Viciedo have been defensive liabilities all season and whether either returns next season remains to be seen. The White Sox are set to go with Adam Eaton in center field and Avisail Garcia in right field next year.

Defense isn’t the only area where they White Sox need to make fundamental improvements, but it is an area that continues to hurt them often.

“Being fundamentally sound in every aspect of the game is a priority for us,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “We have made some improvements in certain areas, but we are not where we need to be. We know that, whether it's an element of personnel or instruction, it's something that we look to fairly regularly during the season and then more intensely early in the offseason, when we try to address some of those needs.”

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Ramirez shines with his mind at ease

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
9:16
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Alexei Ramirez has found a comfort zone again, and that, more than anything, could describe how he went from a disappointing 2013 to the best hitter in baseball two weeks into the current seasons.

It's much more complicated than that, of course. It always is. But Ramirez's revival to start the season has been all about the subtleties. His approach at the plate is the same, his swing philosophies are only slightly altered and his strategies for dealing with early-season cold have remained how they always have been.

[+] EnlargeAlexei Ramirez
Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY SportsAlexei Ramirez is off to an unusually fast start on offense, but he says he's approaching the game the way he always does.
But there is clearly a sense of urgency that Ramirez has now, and one that seemed to be missing a year ago when his world crashed around him. In spring training last year, Ramirez's father-in-law was murdered in the Dominican Republic, and the ripple effect seemed clear.

Ramirez won't link that situation to his play on the field last year, but it seems obvious that he has found some closure.

"The loss of a family member -- and a close and important family member like him -- you never forget it," Ramirez said through an interpreter Tuesday. "But the family is surviving and the family is doing well. We try to remember the great moments we had with him, the good moments from his life that we spent together, but you never forget that. That's never out of your mind, losing someone that you love so much."

Clearly there is a sense of confidence surrounding Ramirez now. His .420 batting average before Tuesday's game doesn't figure to last, nor does his whopping 1.143 OPS, but the longer he keeps his confident play, the better off the White Sox will be.

And the difference isn't only on offense. After making a career-high 22 errors last season, Ramirez looks more settled on defense as well.

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Sox's system is loaded at second base

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
12:25
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Say what you want about the level of talent in the Chicago White Sox's farm system -- and many baseball analysts have taken their shots -- but second base is where the organization has no shortage of rising young players.

Guys like Micah Johnson, Marcus Semien, Carlos Sanchez and Leury Garcia all are considered viable options at second base for the future.

And with the oblique injury to Gordon Beckham, that will sideline the second baseman for a week and possibly more, there will be plenty of at-bats in upcoming Cactus League games for the next generation of middle infielders.

Johnson and Garcia add blazing speed to their overall package, Semien adds more of a power element along with the versatility to play shortstop and third base, while Sanchez was having arguably the best big league camp of anybody while batting .538 (7-for-13) before he was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte.

Stockpiling middle infield talent continues to be one of the bigger challenges for organizations. While shortstop talent is most desired, a lack of second-base talent can send teams scrambling for options.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals have recently signed Cuban middle infielders. In October, the Dodgers added Alex Guerrero on a four-year, $28 million contract, while earlier this month the Cardinals added Aledmys Diaz on a four-year deal for around $8 million.

"It's tough to find middle infielders in the draft," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "There are only a couple every year that are true middle infielders, and you're not always going to have the chance to draft them. For us having the opportunity to sign a middle infielder (in Guerrero) with his age and his experience at the international level we thought it was worth it."

The Dodgers went as far as to double up on Cuban middle infielders, also signing shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena to a five-year deal.

The White Sox have Garcia and Semien who can play shortstop, but neither is considered to be the defensive equivalent of Alexei Ramirez. The White Sox did draft junior college shortstop Tim Anderson in the first round last year.

While Anderson remains plenty of years away, a new second baseman could be in place as soon as next season. Beckham will make $4.175 million this season and could be in the $6 million range next year, which is his last of arbitration eligibility. Beckham reaches free agency in 2016.

It isn't impossible that Beckham could be traded this season to a team in need of second base help, especially if the White Sox have come to the conclusion that will be headed in a new direction anyway next year.

If the White Sox have shown anything this past offseason it is that they aren't afraid to make trades from an area of strength. With four left-handers in the rotation, they moved one early this winter for an upgrade in center field and in the leadoff spot when lefty Hector Santiago was part of the deal that brought back Adam Eaton.

And with Nate Jones emerging as a closer for the future, the White Sox went ahead and traded closer Addison Reed for third baseman Matt Davidson.

Johnson, Semien, Sanchez and Garcia all are coming, with one of them likely to take over at second soon, and maybe one or more used in trade packages to land talent in other areas.

Flowers says rule is good for game

February, 24, 2014
Feb 24
3:20
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While saying he never saw a need for a rules change, Chicago White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said he is glad there now is clarity when it comes to a ban on home plate collisions.

After approving a rule this winter to ban violent impacts at home plate, Major League Baseball finalized the language Monday. Many teams had been in limbo as to what drills they should be using with their catchers this spring.

Flowers, at 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, was primarily concerned with making the changes official.

“I haven’t had too many experiences with it,” Flowers said of home plate collisions. “I think for baseball it’s tough to see some guys get hurt. Obviously Buster Posey) getting hurt on that play, that’s not good for anybody.

“That’s probably taking fans out of the seats. They’re coming to see him play and that team play. From that aspect and MLB’s aspect, it makes sense. For us slower base runners, it’s going to be a little different. Sometimes we have a chance to run them over and score, now we have to make sure we can make it home.”

Defense gives Flowers an early edge

February, 22, 2014
Feb 22
5:20
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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GLENDALE, Ariz. – Perhaps the race for the Chicago White Sox’s available starting catching spot isn’t so wide open after all, as manager Robin Ventura admitted Saturday that Tyler Flowers is the favorite to emerge with the job.

Cactus League games won’t begin until Friday and those contests could end up painting a different picture, but for now it’s Flowers’ job to lose, "more or less," according to Ventura.

“We know what we get with Tyler, and I like the way he calls games and the way he goes, so he’ll be the starting catcher on the first game, which would be Friday,” Ventura said.

Ventura would not commit to an Opening Day lineup on March 31 that includes Flowers, which means Josh Phegley still has a say in this battle. But if Flowers does win the job, it’s likely the White Sox would end up with Hector Gimenez as the backup while Phegley goes down to Triple-A Charlotte to get more playing time.

Last year the two battled to move atop the organization’s catcher depth chart, and neither took advantage of their opportunity.

Flowers got his first chance to start after A.J. Pierzynski departed and he struggled to a .195 batting average and a .355 slugging percentage in 84 games. Phegley took over as the starter for most of the second half, but in 65 games all he could manage was a .206 batting average and a .209 slugging percentage.

The struggles left the White Sox 29th in on-base percentage from their catchers at .238, while their OPS of .564 was better than only the Miami Marlins. The White Sox were also next to last in runs (47) and hits (108) from their catchers.

While Flowers’ work behind the plate sets him ahead of Phegley, there is also the fact that a shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery played a part in his offensive struggles.

Flowers, who has displayed an edgier personality this spring, was a bit brighter when told that Ventura has him ahead of the catching pack.

“Super, I guess that’s good,” he said. “I still have to get ready either way no matter what position I’m in, no matter where I’m at. I try to take advantage of every at-bat and every situation and improve and help the team in whatever fashion they want me to help.”

While it’s his work as a hitter that will get him the most recognition, Flowers takes pride in his work behind the plate.

“I think that’s a big part,” Flowers said. “I don’t think people want a guy who hits .330 and doesn’t catch worth a crap and doesn’t care. I think that’s important for this position specifically. All positions, that’s important too, but this one probably a little bit more than the others.”

Countdown to Camp: Outfield

February, 3, 2014
Feb 3
12:00
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Avisail GarciaDavid Banks/Getty ImagesAvisail Garcia is set to play his first full season with the White Sox.
With Chicago White Sox spring training set to begin Feb. 15 when pitchers and catchers report in Glendale, Ariz., we’re taking an early look around the diamond.

The best place to look to get a proper understanding of the White Sox’s roster reshaping is in the outfield, where guys like Avisail Garcia and Adam Eaton now reside.

The White Sox not only got younger in the outfield, they got faster too, and by all accounts they also got better defensively. In terms of power, Garcia has plenty of that, but that doesn’t mean that more home runs will come from this group than what the 2013 outfield contributed.

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When it comes to upside, though, the current group eventually has the chance to be far better than what the White Sox fielded in 2013, although there could be an adjustment period before that actually starts to show itself.

Garcia not only was the first move the White Sox made when they started to reshape the roster, he essentially is what the rest of the offense is being built around. The 6-foot-4, 240-poound Venezuela native can run, he can hit for power and, after almost 100 major league games, his .289 batting average is solid but his .725 OPS could use a little work. Best of all is that Garcia is extremely affordable right now and won’t be eligible for free agency until he plays another five seasons.

If Garcia represents the power side of the remodel, then Eaton is now in the fold to help with a disappointing team on-base percentage. The White Sox finished 14th in the 15-team American League in that department last year with a .302 mark. What also appeals to the White Sox is Eaton’s all-out effort in his attempt to maximize his ability. That the White Sox are giddy about this aspect of Eaton’s game tells you exactly what they thought was lacking in recent seasons.

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No gold for rusty White Sox gloves

October, 25, 2013
10/25/13
3:10
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox did not have a single Gold Glove Award nominee in 2013 and there isn’t a soul who thinks they got robbed.

After a 2012 season when they were one of the best defensive teams in baseball, the White Sox flipped the script in 2013 and were one of the worst. When three Gold Glove candidates were announced at each position Friday, the White Sox were nowhere near the list.

Even second baseman Gordon Beckham, who was making noise in 2012 as a potential Gold Glove winner down the road, finished with a .975 fielding percentage in 2013 that wasn’t even in the top 10 at his position in the American League.

The Houston Astros, who fielded a young and inexperienced roster this past season, had the most errors in the AL with 125 and were last in fielding percentage at .979. The more experienced White Sox had just four fewer errors than the Astros and were only one point better in fielding percentage, finishing second to last in both categories.

The White Sox are making a defense a priority with offseason moves.

In 2012, the White Sox not only had an AL-low 70 errors, their .988 fielding percentage was tied with the Seattle Mariners for best in the league. While such a drastic change could have been blamed n a turnover in personnel, the White Sox only made changes in two positions (third base and catcher), although they dealt with a number of injuries at nearly every position.

About the closest the White Sox got to a Gold Glove nominee this year was in the pitching category, where Mark Buehrle was nominated yet again, but this time as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Buehrle won a Gold Glove in each of his last three seasons with the White Sox and continued that trend in the National League last season when he moved to the Miami Marlins.

And the nominees are:

AL catcher: Matt Wieters, Joe Mauer, Salvador Perez.
AL first base: Chris Davis, James Loney, Eric Hosmer.
AL second base: Robinson Cano, Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia.
AL third base: Manny Machado, Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre.
AL shortstop: Yunel Escobar, Alcides Escobar, J.J. Hardy.
AL left field: Yoenis Cespedes, Andy Dirks, Alex Gordon.
AL center field: Adam Jones, Lorenzo Cain, Jacoby Ellsbury.
AL right field: Nick Markakis, Josh Reddick, Shane Victorino.
AL pitcher: Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, Doug Fister.

N, catcher: A.J. Ellis, Russell Martin, Yadier Molina.
NL first base: Paul Goldschmidt, Adrian Gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo.
NL second base: Darwin Barney, Mark Ellis, Brandon Phillips.
NL third base: Nolan Arenado, Juan Uribe, David Wright.
NL shortstop: Ian Desmond, Andrelton Simmons, Troy Tulowitzki.
NL left field: Carlos Gonzalez, Starling Marte, Eric Young Jr.
NL center field: Carlos Gomez, Andrew McCutchen, Denard Span.
NL right field: Jay Bruce, Jason Heyward, Gerardo Parra.
NL pitcher: Patrick Corbin, Zack Greinke, Adam Wainwright.

The winners will be announced live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday.

Erik Johnson yet to reveal pitching identity

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
10:59
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- After two major league starts, the Chicago White Sox still won’t pass judgment on right-hander Erik Johnson.

It’s hard to get a proper read on a pitcher when the defense keeps letting you down. Miscues galore Tuesday left Johnson with six runs allowed, but only two runs were earned over 3 2/3 innings in an eventual 9-1 defeat to the Detroit Tigers.

[+] EnlargeErik Johnson
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Poor defense by the White Sox has blurred any definitive assessment of Erik Johnson's pitching during losses in his first two career starts.

The White Sox made four errors, three by third baseman Conor Gillaspie.

In his major league debut last week at Yankee Stadium, Johnson gave up five runs, but only three were earned.

“Yeah, it’s hard to sit there and assess that,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. “When you’re playing clean behind him, it could be a different story. It’s hard to judge. But, again, some of the swings guys are having against him, it looks pretty good.”

Johnson’s minor league numbers certainly suggest a pitcher with plenty of promise, and two defense-challenged outings in the major leagues won’t detract from that. He went a combined 12-3 during 24 starts between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, posting a 1.96 ERA.

Those numbers, and not the two rocky outings over a six-day stretch with the White Sox, are the reason he is expected to compete for a rotation spot at spring training next year.

“He threw fine,” Ventura said. “We didn’t help him at all, but he was fine. Pitch count-wise -- if we’re making a few plays here and there -- it’s probably a different story. [Tigers starter Rick] Porcello, he kind of scattered his hits. For Detroit, they bunched together and scored some runs and it was ugly.”

Pitching, though, isn’t always about being set up under the ideal conditions, and Johnson knows he could have been better when the heat started to rise.

“I had some tough breaks out there, but I thought I attacked the zone as best I could,” he said. “I thought I could have worked ahead of a few more hitters, of course, and put myself in a better situation.”

Despite leaving in the fourth inning, Johnson still threw 96 pitches while facing 23 batters. By comparison, the White Sox bullpen faced 24 batters over 5 1/3 innings, throwing 74 pitches.

“Being more efficient is always a goal of the starting pitcher,” Johnson said. “Go as far as you can for as long as you can. Tonight that wasn’t the case.”

Assuming the six-man rotation remains in place, Johnson will get another shot to reveal his true identity Monday at home against the Minnesota Twins.

As Pierzynski watches, Phegley delivers

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
10:43
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- It hasn't been a season to remember for Chicago White Sox catchers, so with the team's old backstop in the house, Josh Phegley tried to do something about it.

Digging in at the plate in the ninth inning in front of Texas Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski, Phegley ripped a game-ending single into left field to give the White Sox a 3-2 victory. It was the first game-ending hit for Phegley in his 37th career game.

Phegley entered batting just .176 (15-for-85) over his past 25 games, looking nothing like the aggressive hitter that burst upon the scene in early July.

Josh Phegley
AP Photo/David BanksJosh Phegley is mobbed by his teammates after his single to left in the ninth lifted the White Sox to a 3-2 win over the Rangers.
"The offense is going to come. I'm not real worried about it," said Phegley, who entered the game in the eighth inning after Jeff Keppinger batted for starting catcher Tyler Flowers. "But to come through in that situation for the team is awesome. I just want to do whatever I can to help the team, and in that specific moment, I needed to get a base hit so we could go home, and came through."

Combining their numbers this season, White Sox catchers entered play Saturday last in the American league in runs (41), hits (86), batting average (.197) and on-base percentage (.241).

Flowers was given his first full-time catching job at the start of the season but has since been replaced by the rookie Phegley. Highlighting their combined struggles has been the presence this weekend of Pierzynski, who was solid for eight seasons in a White Sox uniform and was a fan favorite before moving on to the Rangers.

If Flowers and Phegley wondered how much White Sox fans appreciated Pierzynski, it has been on display often. Pierzynski has been cheered loudly when the pregame lineups are announced, when he comes to the plate and even when he jogs to the bullpen before the game to warm-up the starting pitcher.

Despite not hitting well of late, Phegley was given the start for every game of the just-completed trip. The White Sox went 6-1 mostly because of solid pitching. White Sox pitchers do own a 3.59 ERA when Phegley is behind the plate this season.

On Saturday, Flowers was actually given his first start since Aug. 14.

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Ventura supports struggling Ramirez

August, 14, 2013
8/14/13
1:12
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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White Sox ScoreJerry Lai/USA TODAY SportsAlexei Ramirez's power outage has been a surprise this season.
CHICAGO -- The worst season of Alexei Ramirez's career doesn't appear to be getting any better after the shortstop made three errors Tuesday night to give him 20 on the season.

Those 20 match his career worst, set previously in 2009 and 2010, and there are still 6 1/2 weeks remaining in the season.

"I don't know exactly what it is but going up the middle, some are different little hops and plays," manager Robin Ventura said. "We know he's better than that so there are times when there are some tough plays. He makes the really difficult plays. When he does make those it surprises you."

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White Sox rebuild stays in fast lane

August, 9, 2013
8/09/13
8:59
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox never wanted to tear the house down to the studs before rebuilding and a pair moves in the span of 10 days could keep them on plan.

By sending Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox in a three-team deal on July 30 and then sending Alex Rios to the Texas Rangers on Friday, the White Sox are optimistic enough to think they can be competitive as early as next season.

There are three things working in the White Sox's favor:

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Ventura to keep Dayan Viciedo in OF

August, 2, 2013
8/02/13
5:11
PM CT
By Chuck Pleiness
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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DETROIT -- As of now the Chicago White Sox have no plans of moving left fielder Dayan Viciedo into the infield on a permanent basis.

Viciedo worked out at first base before Friday's game at Comerica Park against the Detroit Tigers, which led to the speculation.

"As of right now I'd say so," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said when asked if Viciedo would stay in the outfield next season.

The reason for the workout at first base was because of a situation Ventura nearly got himself in during their last series with the Cleveland Indians where he nearly needed someone to plug into that position.

"The other day in Cleveland we started pinch hitting and doing a few different things and it came up where we might have needed someone to play first," Ventura said. "We had already used Conor [Gillaspie] and we didn't really want to use an extra catcher over there and remembering that he played first base, played some infield, [we're] just getting him some ground balls just in case it comes up again.

"He won't be going in over there dry. He will at least have taken some ground balls. It has nothing to do with him playing there, starting there, or even next year, it was more that if it comes up and he goes over there I don't want him to have not taken a ground ball."

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Defense manages to get even worse

July, 23, 2013
7/23/13
11:20
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox defense showed Tuesday that it hasn’t hit rock bottom just yet.

One of the worst defenses in baseball committed a season-high four errors in a 6-2 defeat to the Detroit Tigers.

Conor Gillaspie, Adam Dunn, Dayan Viciedo and Alex Rios all were credited with errors, while Alexei Ramirez nearly lost the handle on a popup in the ninth inning.

“A lineup like that, you just can’t play like that and expect to be in the game,” said manager Robin Ventura said, who was ejected in the first inning and was spared from watching the carnage from the dugout. “You give them that many opportunities and you’re going to pay for it.”

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Surprise: Defense saves the day

July, 21, 2013
7/21/13
5:16
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- A defense that helped to get the Chicago White Sox in this mess in the first place, was able to give the team a victory Sunday.

[+] EnlargeCasper Wells
AP Photo/Charles CherneyWhite Sox left fielder Casper Wells robbed the Braves' Reed Johnson of a home run in the eighth inning.
Highlight-reel plays by both Jeff Keppinger at second base and Casper Wells in left field saved at least four runs and helped to propel them to a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves had the bases loaded in the third inning with two outs when Brian McCann hit a hard roller through the hole between second base and first base. Keppinger moved to his left and made a diving stop on the ball before throwing to Adam Dunn at first base to end the half inning.

That play, which saved a pair of runs, remained the difference into the eighth inning. It was in the eighth with a runner on base when the Braves’ Reed Johnson hit a drive to right field. Wells broke back on the ball, timed his jump and went over the wall to rob the home run and ultimately preserve the victory.

“You like to see that energy defensively with Kepp out there, who was filling in for Gordon (Beckham) today, so it was nice to see him out there playing well,” manager Robin Ventura said. “And Casper, the great catch, that pretty much saves the game with a catch like that. It’s good to see and we want to build off that.”

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Viciedo gets message loud and clear

June, 29, 2013
6/29/13
7:23
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO – Somebody sure got the message, as Dayan Viciedo did all he could to will the Chicago White Sox to a victory.

[+] EnlargeViciedo
AP Photo/Charles CherneyAfter a baserunning blunder on Friday, Dayan Viciedo flashed some leather and went 3-for-4 with an RBI.
It was to no avail in Saturday's 4-3 defeat to the Cleveland Indians, but Viciedo still began the process of redeeming himself after he was yanked from Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader because of a baserunning gaffe.

In the first and third innings, the burly outfielder known as “Tank” made diving catches. Among his season-high-tying three hits was an RBI single in the fifth inning that gave the White Sox a 3-1 lead.

There was clearly a different energy about him after he seemed to drift from second base Friday on a two-out single to center. He was tagged out when he stopped running between third base and home plate.

The White Sox were getting pummeled in that game, which they lost 19-10, and while the run wouldn’t have mattered in the grand scheme of things, the miscue did add to the team’s embarrassment.

“Based on yesterday I just tried to stay as calm as possible and just play hard today,” Viciedo said through an interpreter. “I tried not to let that carry over into today and play hard both in the field and have good at-bats. I had the day that I had, which was good considering how I played yesterday.”

The 23-year-old Viciedo has been somewhat of an enigma after entering the season with the potential to move out front as one of the better run producers on the team. He was slowed by an oblique injury in April and missed a month, hitting the ball well when he returned.

But he quickly began to slump and didn’t seem to heed the advice of coaches who were telling him to slow down his mechanics at the plate instead of getting overanxious. Pitchers were using his aggressive approach against him with a bevy of changeups and breaking pitches. As his struggles deepened, even fastballs proved to be a challenge.

“Mistakes do happen, but the mentality that you have to have and I have is that a mistake can happen but you can’t let it happen a second time,” Viciedo said. “You have to learn from that. I am young, younger, and I have to learn from those mistakes. You can’t let them happen again.”

Manager Robin Ventura was up front between games of Friday’s doubleheader saying that Viciedo was pulled from Game 1 not because of a planned defensive substitution but because of his blunder on the bases.

Ventura didn’t use Viciedo in the second game on Friday but decided to use him Saturday. Well aware that Viciedo is still a young player, Ventura still doesn’t want to make excuses for somebody with so much talent.

“There’s part of that, of growing into what you’re going to be,” Ventura said in acknowledging Viciedo’s youth. “Going through challenges is the hardest thing a player will do, especially young to be able to get through it. Eventually, when you get through it, it makes you better for the rest of your career.”

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