Viciedo out 3-4 weeks

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Tank had been money in the bank as far as White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was concerned.

Now Dayan Viciedo’s spring training is over. The right fielder suffered a fractured right thumb when he was hit with a pitch by Texas Rangers right-hander Dave Bush during the eighth inning of the Sox’ 7-6 Cactus League victory on Thursday. He is expected to be out three to four weeks.

“Every time you go to spring training you always worry about that, people getting hurt,” Guillen said. “When that happens to any player, especially the way he’s been playing, it was sad. That’s the bad part of this game People get hurt and you feel for them no matter if it was Dayan or anybody else.”

The Sox had been injury-free until Thursday. Viciedo, who was converting to right field from third base and first base, was having an exceptional spring. He was batting .435 and was playing a strong right field.

He will have the thumb re-evaluated today. As well as he had played, his chances of making the opening-day roster on April 1 were not great either way because the Sox would likely want him playing every day at AAA rather than be a bench player. Brent Lillibridge, Alejandro De Aza and Lastings Milledge are competing for the extra outfielder’s spot. Lillibridge can also play the infield.

“He’ll be out three to four weeks but hopefully he can heal quicker,” Guillen said. “Hopefully it’s less than that. Hopefully he’s cured before we leave camp and we’ll see what happens.”

Viciedo made another running catch on Thursday. He made one in the right field in the first inning of the first game. He has thrown out runners at home and third base on base hits.

“He’s been great,” Guillen said. “I told you guys from the beginning, He’s in shape, he looks like he has played there before. He’s done everything we have asked him to do. He deserved to be out there getting a shot. We’ll see. Unfortunately that happened to him today. Like I say, hopefully he will be ready before this spring training is over to get a shot.”

When asked Wednesday if any player in particular has impressed him during spring training, Guillen did not hesitate.

“So far? There’s only one guy, that’s Viciedo,” Guillen said. “Everybody else, I expect them to do [well]. I expect [Chris] Sale to be Sale, [Sergio] Santos to be Santos. We’ve got a lot of guys playing well, but Viciedo is the one that’s stood out in my mind.

“I never thought he’d play the outfield the way he’s playing, never thought he’d be in shape the way he is, never thought he’d swing the bat as well as he does,” Guillen said.

In an interview this week, Viciedo talked about his transition to the outfield. He said it wasn’t that big a deal because he has played there in Cuba. And he worked on it in Cuba during the off-season.

“I feel comfortable in the outfield,” Viciedo said through an interpreter. “Now that I’ve got more practice out there, I’m able to feel comfortable out there so I feel good.”

“The hardest thing is keeping up with the pitchers and what they are going to pitch in order to know and make adjustments during the game. You pretty much have to keep moving just to have scenarios of where the ball might land.”

Viciedo said he had to remind himself to stay on his toes in the outfield.

“The biggest difference is that when you play third base, every pitch you have to be on point because something might be coming toward you,” he said. “You have to be at attention. When you are out in the outfield, you might get a fly ball every once in a while. You might have a dribble coming out there. You are not as intense in your concentration as much as you would be at third.”

When he returns from the injury, he won’t have a preference about a position.

“Wherever they put me, that’s where I’m going to play. I feel comfortable. I just need to practice and once I practice it’s all good.

“Even though I’ve played that position before, it has been a long time since I played it. There might be plays I might be confused on how to really play out. But that’s as I keep playing and keep playing that position to become more natural. There might be a few errors here and there but that should be seen as natural because I’m re-learning that position again.”

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