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.”