DETROIT – Dayan Viciedo’s exceptional bat speed is a source of pride. It can also be a source of problems.
The White Sox left fielder smiles a broad smile when his strength comes up in conversation. Teammates marvel at it.
“It’s a good thing but a lot of times it gets me in trouble because I’m out there [in front of the ball],’’ Viciedo said Saturday. “I see the ball so big that it gets me in trouble. Sometimes I don’t allow my hands to work. I use my body more than I need because my hands are so quick.’’
Viciedo has taken a step back production-wise this season. Going into Saturday’s game against tough right-hander Max Scherzer he was batting .254 with nine homers and 32 RBI, well below the numbers the Sox were counting on after he hit .255 with 25 homers and 78 RBI in his first full season in 2012.
Attempts from hitting coach Jeff Manto, assistant hitting coach Harold Baines and manager Robin Ventura to improve his timing have produced mixed results. A leg left experiment during spring didn’t work.
“Yeah, we’re done with the mechanical thing,’’ Manto said. “We’ve tried many different things between Robin, myself and Bainesy. He’s better off, he’s more comfortable doing what he’s doing now, making sure he gets a good pitch to hit.
“He has to land in a good position to hit. He has a real good bat path. He gets his front leg out so fast that it’s hard to see how good it is. When you slow it down, there isn’t much wrong with it. When he gets his foot down early or in a better position he’s as good as anybody.’’
Viciedo is only 24. With this lost season, Manto wants to see his recent trend continue into next year. He was hitting .378 over his previous 10 games and .310 with four homers and 10 over the last 27.
“I’m trying not to get out there with my head and get out front,’’ Viciedo said. “Working on the same concept [as the leg lift] but in a different way. In that way I’ve made some strides.’’