SEATTLE -- Ozzie Guillen was about to make official the news of Dayan Viciedo's promotion from Triple-A Charlotte to the White Sox during his pregame media session Friday at Safeco Field, but he first paused for dramatic effect.
Then, with a smile plastered on his face, the White Sox manager tossed out the following line:
"Now he's coming in town," said Guillen, raising his arms triumphantly in the air. "We're in the pennant race."
Viciedo replaced Carlos Quentin on the active roster, with the White Sox right fielder telling the media before Friday's game that he was going to the 15-day disabled list retroactive to this past Sunday. The 5-foot-11, 230-pound Viciedo hit .308 over 104 at-bats for the White Sox during a 2010 callup, while playing 23 games at third base and seven at first.
In 2011, Viciedo primarily has played right field with 95 starts there for the Knights, followed by just 10 at first base. Quentin strained the AC joint in his left shoulder in last Saturday's victory over the Rangers by diving and catching a first-inning fly ball off the bat of Craig Gentry.
Upon impact, Quentin heard a crack and thought he might have broken his collarbone. But the news wasn't nearly that bad for the intense veteran, who said he has felt better on a daily basis since the original impact.
Quentin's inability to progress with baseball activities sent him to the disabled list, especially after he felt a "grab" while taking dry swings Friday.
"It's better from originally what happened," said Quentin, who is hitting .255 with 24 homers, 31 doubles and 77 RBIs. "It's definitely better. But swinging, it's not there. The team is down a player and that's not fair to the team."
"We tried, but I told you guys in Anaheim I wasn't too sure because he was very sore," said Guillen. "I know he's not going to be ready soon, the way I thought he was going to be. It's not fair for him to come every day here and be rushed and hurried because we're missing a player. I think the best thing we did was put him on the DL and give him plenty of time to recover and get 100 percent, and hopefully it's better for everyone."
One point to be made clear concerning Viciedo is that while Guillen might take a few sarcastic jabs at the importance of the young offensive force, he has nothing but respect for the 22-year-old, whom Guillen originally dubbed the Cuban Tank. The controversy surrounding Viciedo dates back to early June, when general manager Ken Williams spoke to MLB.com about the interesting look Viciedo would provide to the White Sox lineup and that he was Major League-ready.
Williams and Guillen agreed that Viciedo would not come to the Majors as a part-time player, and while leadoff man Juan Pierre was not at his peak playing performance at that point, Guillen and the White Sox were not giving up on their hard-working leadoff man. Pierre also became the easiest move to make, with his deal up at the end of the 2011 season and the struggling presences of Adam Dunn and Alex Rios under contract for three more years each.
That confidence in Pierre was quickly rewarded, as Pierre entered Friday's series opener with a .284 average and an RBI total of 40 that is equal to Dunn and nine greater than Rios. Viciedo could have come up to the Majors when Mark Teahen and Edwin Jackson were traded to Toronto at the end of July, but he was dealing with a sore right thumb from being hit by a pitch.
There's little doubt regular at-bats will now be available for Viciedo, who hit .297 with 20 homers, 28 doubles and 78 RBIs for the Knights in his first full season as a right fielder. Viciedo could slide into Quentin's spot in right, but with Alejandro De Aza adding a burst of needed life to the offense, Viciedo could take at-bats from Dunn at first base while Paul Konerko continues to recover from a sore left calf/knee at designated hitter.
"If he can play first base, that will help us more," Guillen said. "But we'll see what we need from him and what's the best for him. We just can't put this kid at first base without him playing first for a long time. We're going to talk to him, and he's going to be in the lineup most of the time. And we'll see where he's going to play.
"Hopefully he continues to do what he's doing right now in Triple-A. We know this kid is going to be a big part of this organization for a long time hopefully, and it can be a good start. I think right now we need offense very bad. It's my job to make the best lineup out there we can."
The trip to the DL for Quentin, bringing up Viciedo, is a disappointing one. But he also knows it's not due to wear and tear.
"My body felt good. I felt good in the outfield. I was playing good defense, better than I had been. Moving well," Quentin said. "This was a dive in the outfield and it just happened. The good thing is it's getting better. I'll look forward to coming back at full strength."