SEATTLE -- The on-field learning curve doesn't stop, even for an 11-time Gold Glove winner such as Omar Vizquel.
Those particular defensive honors came at shortstop for one of the best glove men in the game's history, but 38 of his 51 games played for the White Sox this season have come at third base. Those 38 games represent all but 20 of his career appearances at the hot corner.
Yet, Vizquel looks like a natural, supported by four stellar plays in the field Tuesday, including a diving stop down the line to take away extra bases from Jose Lopez in the sixth.
"I wouldn't say naturally," said Vizquel of his superb work at third. "I still have the tendency to do some things like a shortstop does, like trying to chase a ball down the line, move in a different direction when the ball is supposed to be going to second base.
"It has been a learning experience to me, but it's obvious I feel more comfortable at third base than at second base. Whenever I have the chance to play second, I feel a little bit out of position, but on that [left] side of the field, I feel more comfortable."
Since Mark Teahen was placed on the disabled list on June 1, the 43-year-old Vizquel has posted a .301 average in 34 games and 30 starts. He has six multi-hit games in his last eight played and forged a tie with Luke Appling for 50th on the all-time hits list via his run-scoring single in Wednesday's 2-1 loss in 11 innings to the Mariners. The White Sox also have a 19-11 record in games Vizquel starts at third and a 30-14 mark in Teahen's absence.
Ozzie Guillen said on Wednesday that he plans to play Vizquel "until the day he dies and can't play anymore." That plan also would leave Teahen back in a super-utility role when he returns from rehab on the fractured right middle finger.
"I'm going to play him all over the place because I think Omar is playing pretty good," said Guillen of Teahen.
White Sox holding opposing runners in check
SEATTLE -- Seattle's offense really didn't have enough production during Tuesday's 4-0 loss to put anyone in motion. The Mariners finished a mere 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position.
If Oakland's Rajai Davis tries to make a move to steal a base this weekend, then they will be met by a better equipped White Sox unit to handle the opposition's running game. Catchers A.J. Pierzynski and Ramon Castro have a combined 14-for-60 accuracy rate over all 2010 stolen base attempts.
In those same attempts where a throw is made, Castro checks in at 3-for-7 and Pierzynski stands at an improved 11-for-29. It's more than better throws marking this particular uptick.
"Just everyone working together," Pierzynski said. "Pitchers, catchers, [bench coach] Joey [Cora] calling the pick-overs and pitch outs. I think it's been a total team effort. It's something we focused on toward the end of last year and have gotten better.
"Going into Spring Training, we knew we needed to do this, if we were going to be a team with a chance to win or compete. Pitchers deserve most of the credit. You don't throw guys out without pitchers' help."
John Danks has proven to be the toughest White Sox starter to steal on, with opposing runners successful on just twice in eight attempts. Danks also has four pick-offs. Runners are 3-for-8 with Mark Buehrle pitching, while he has picked off nine.
With a .286 career batting average coming into the 2010 campaign, Pierzynski always has been tagged as a catcher known primarily for his work with the bat. In contrast, St. Louis' Yadier Molina is known more as a defensive specialist. But with White Sox pitchers reliant on defense behind them to avoid big innings, the team and staff have placed greater emphasis on this specific discipline.
"My first couple of years here, we didn't really care about shutting down running," Pierzynski said. "[Mannager Ozzie Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper] realize it's important and saves runs over the long haul.
"You see it's a work in progress as years go on. It saves extra bases, keeps the double play in order and helps pitchers in general."
Cuban Missile takes off with the glove
SEATTLE -- Predicting shortstop Alexei Ramirez to someday win a Gold Glove seemed like a reach by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen in 2009. In fact, there were some who wanted Gordon Beckham to move over to his natural position at shortstop and have Ramirez back at second when Chris Getz was traded in the offseason.
Nobody is complaining about Ramirez's highlight-reel defense now.
"Things are happening the right way and I'm getting a lot of confidence from the manager," said Ramirez, through translator and bullpen coach Juan Nieves. "Now I'm playing my position from Cuba, and now I'm playing it here. It creates a lot more confidence and I feel a lot more comfortable at short."
Ramirez has committed a team-high 11 errors but has done a better job handling the routine plays up the middle. He also has benefited from the influence of Omar Vizquel.
"I always said to myself that one of my three heroes at shortstop that I always looked upon, three guys, but one of them of course was Omar Vizquel," said Ramirez, who also mentioned Rey Ordonez and Ozzie Smith. "Knowing the way he prepares himself after all this time in his career playing baseball, it's very admirable."
Third to first
Over their last 38 games, White Sox starters are 22-7 with a 2.46 ERA and have 32 quality starts. ... Andruw Jones picked up a rare assist on a putout in the fifth inning Wednesday. Ryan Langerhans singled to right but overran first base and was caught in a rundown. That rundown went from Jones to Alexei Ramirez to Paul Konerko to Omar Vizquel to Jones, who put the tag on Langerhans at first base. ... Gordon Beckham has 16 hits in his last 30 at-bats, raising his average to .241. ... Konerko singled in the second inning Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to nine games and has hit in 26 of his last 29 games.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.