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Does Dayan Viciedo's Injury Affect the Sox Plans?

by Mike DePilla
Friday, March 11, 2011
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If you're reading this then by now you know Dayan Viciedo suffered a fractured right thumb yesterday courtesy of a David Bush fastball and will probably miss the rest of spring training.

Both James at White Sox Observer and JJ at White Sox Examiner seem to think Viciedo, due to his surprisingly quick (re-)adjustment to rightfield and spring success at the plate, was in at least semi-serious consideration for coming north at the end of the month as the Sox' fourth outfielder- a possibility which is now shattered. I don't think that was ever the case. Even though the team is "All In", I firmly believe Dayan Viciedo was not going to make the Sox Opening Day roster in any scenario outside of an injury (to someone else... not to him).

The corner OF/corner IF reserve spot is already in the hands of Mark Teahen, who bats lefty and about whom "stunted growth" is not an issue. Any other back up outfielder, coming from a pool of Alejandro De Aza, Lastings Milledge and Brent Lillibridge, must be able to spell Alex Rios in center, a task not suitable for the Cuban Tank. For the time being, my money is on De Aza, who is having the least-productive spring so far, making the big club, Milledge going to Triple-A and Lillibridge, who I believe is being showcased, getting traded before Opening Day.

While none of the back up centerfield candidates have done much to differentiate themselves, Teahen, whom I bashed somewhat mercilessly yesterday, continued his torrid hitting at the plate this spring with three hits and a homerun against the Rangers and checks in now with .529 batting average. It's unlikely that this hitting can get him the starting third base job- the competition was never about who had the better spring slash line- but its definitely a good development.

At the least, it gives the impression that at bats given to rightfielders when Carlos Quentin is out of the line up will not be completely wasted. At best, it improves Teahen's trade value- possibly to the point of getting something somewhat useful in return, as a Rob Mackowiak-like OF/1B lefty stick is always in some kind of demand.

As for Viciedo, unless he was going to play every day with the big club (a long shot), I believe both Kenny and Ozzie knew the guy had to go to Triple-A to avoid wasted time. Viciedo making the unexpected ascension from Slow Starter (or "Chubby Boy", as Jim at SSS called him) to the Opening Day 25-man roster would have looked cool and been a nice little story, but he needs to get regular reps to both maintain his sharpness and continue to develop.

The biggest concern about this injury, which luckily is not as serious as the 2010 rash of prospect setbacks (Jared Mitchell's ankle, Josh Phegley's blood disorder and Trayce Thompson's thumb decimated the progress of an already poor farm system last summer) is whether it will affect his focus when he recovers. Let's just hope he doesn't lose too much momentum and picks up where he left off when he returns in April. If the Sox find a taker for Teahen, or need a replacement for Quentin in the next few months, Viciedo will have a legitimate shot at the job if he starts strong at Charlotte.

This injury is very unfortunate, and may stunt his progress briefly, but it doesn't change the general plan for the big man, or the big club, in 2011.

3 comments:

  1. What can I say about me and JJ? great minds exaggerate alike.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just keep him away from the junk food and make sure he runs everyday!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like Teahen's bat in the lineup, another dangerous left hander.

    Look at the possile balance!!
    Lefty: pierre, dunn, aj, teahen
    Righty: beckham, rios, konerko, quentin, alexi.

    ReplyDelete