ANAHEIM -- The defensive improvement shown by Dayan Viciedo in left field doesn't necessarily have to be measured statistically. Simply look at Viciedo's reaction to Howie Kendrick's go-ahead, two-run double in the sixth inning of Thursday's victory to judge those increased expectations.
Viciedo had the ball bounce off of his glove after not taking a great angle to the line shot. But Viciedo felt he should have caught the ball, which was a thought echoed by manager Robin Ventura.
"I felt like it was a tough ball right over me to catch, but I probably should have caught it," said Viciedo through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. "I probably should work a little bit more on that part, the fly balls, but I feel good."
"Last year, where you look out there when stuff was hit, you watch with a different eye now," Ventura said. "You expect him to make plays. He has a stronger arm as far as getting into the right position and getting around it and throwing to a base."
Prior to Friday's action, Viciedo walked six times in his last seven games, after not walking once in his first 13, to go with a .429 average over his last 11.
"I'm actually seeing the ball better," Viciedo said before going 2-for-4 with two singles in Friday's 3-0 win over the Angels. "I still will commit to a pitch that is out of the zone, but I'm able to figure it out on the next pitch and fix it right away, which has been very helpful to me, as opposed to continue to swing out of the zone. I've been able to fix the problem right within the at-bat."
Santiago concerned with contributing, not future
ANAHEIM -- With John Danks potentially one Saturday night Minor League rehab appearance away from returning to the White Sox, a couple of options await Hector Santiago following Saturday afternoon's big league start against the Angels.
Santiago could remain in the starting rotation, giving the White Sox four left-handers to go with Jake Peavy. He also could move back to the bullpen, with the fifth spot going to Dylan Axelrod, who has a 4.27 ERA and four quality starts in eight trips to the mound.
Let's throw a third, more remote possibility out there, which could materialize down the line, in that the talented 25-year-old with five pitches could become an awfully enticing trade chip offered up by his current team. Santiago understands that nothing is certain, aside from making Saturday's start against Mike Trout and Company.
"I kind of try not to think about it, but you always have something in the back of your mind," said a forthcoming Santiago about his future and trade possibilities. "Are they going to make a move? Do they need another position player? Do they need another pitcher?
"Maybe they get a package deal for something like that with a team that needs a starter. You always have that in the back of your mind. Right now, I'm here and I'm going to enjoy my time here."
It would be hard to see the White Sox moving a hurler who doesn't enter free agency until after the 2017 season, even as the team's fourth southpaw starter. All four of those individuals have different styles, and the White Sox have gone with good pitchers whether they are right-handed or left-handed as manager Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper have stated many times previously.
But the White Sox could subtract from an area of strength to tighten up another spot on the diamond for a team in contention.
Trade talk came up for Santiago when the team was in New York during a two-game series against the Mets, according to the hurler. He quickly added that talk came from his friends and family.
"A bunch of people asked me if I'm going to the Mets. 'They need pitching,'" said Santiago with a laugh. "I'm like, 'I don't know what's going on. I don't know what they are thinking or what they are planning.'
"Obviously, it depends on what I do before Johnny comes back. I kind of try to avoid all that trade or move-to-another-team kind of thing."
Reed channels closer Percival in return home
ANAHEIM -- Addison Reed entered the ninth inning of Thursday's contest to protect a one-run lead and finish off a third straight victory. But as the White Sox closer ran in to preserve his 13th save in 14 opportunities, Reed admitted to thinking about his childhood hero, Troy Percival, who was one of the reasons Reed always wanted to be a closer and who picked up all but 42 of his 358 career saves with the Angels.
"I'm not going to lie. That thought crossed my mind when I was coming out of the bullpen and onto the field," Reed said before closing out Friday's victory with save No. 14. "I kind of had a flashback to when I was in the stands, watching him run in and thought it was a cool feeling I got to pitch [Thursday]."
Reed has pitched three scoreless innings in Angel Stadium, just 35 or 40 minutes from where the right-hander grew up in Rancho Cucamonga as an Angels fan. He had a number of supporters in the stands, but he only had to leave six tickets for his family.
"So my friends helped me out a lot," said a smiling Reed of friends paying their own way in. "I left a lot of tickets last year, so it's about time they pay me back."
"They want to hang out, get here early and see you, which is great," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of players returning home to play in front of friends and family, which he also did in Anaheim as a California native. "But you are still working. Sometimes you've got to be a little, I wouldn't say rude, but be a little shorter than you normally would if you were just hanging out."
Raised hands help elevate Dunn's average
ANAHEIM -- The story behind Adam Dunn's 7-for-19 run on the current White Sox road trip, including eight RBIs and six runs scored, centers on a swing change worked on before last Sunday's home game in which the designated hitter raised his hands.
At least, that's what Dunn remembers it to be after all the variations tried during a rare night off.
"I don't even know any more because I did so many different things in one day," Dunn said. "I'd be like, 'Mick [White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto], what did you like about that?'
"He's like, 'I like this, this and this,' so I'd try to do that. 'What do you like about the hands here?' 'Well, I like this.' I went from here to here to here to here and throw it against the wall and see what sticks. That's what we've got."
Dunn also checked out video from his days with the Reds, with whom he hit .247 over eight seasons.
"I did that again to see if I could pick up on something, why I'm fouling these balls off, why I'm doing this, why am I swinging at this?" Dunn said. "It took a little bit of 2006, a bit of 2009-10 and a little bit of now and we're here."
Manto stressed that the extreme defensive shift played by the opposition against Dunn, with three infielders on one side of the infield, continues to work to the slugger's detriment.
"Adam plays on a different field. He has seven guys on one side of the field when he hits it," said Manto, adding that a White Sox front office study from 2012 showed Dunn would have hit above .260 last year if teams played him traditionally. "He deals with not only the strikeouts, but he also has to deal with well-struck balls that are caught when everybody else is getting a base hit.
"People will say, 'Well just hit the ball to left field,' and that's the easy thing to say. Well, that's like asking an NBA center to start shooting threes. Yeah, it's open, but it doesn't make sense. So, he deals with a lot of failure only because of that shift."
Dunn went 1-for-4 in Friday's 3-0 victory, hitting a solo homer in the ninth inning.
Third to first
• Tyler Flowers and Hector Gimenez both entered Friday's contest with averages below .210. But Ventura likes the way the two catchers are handling the pitching staff, a top priority for the White Sox.
"They are running a great game and pitchers like throwing to them," Ventura said. "It's a big job when you are back there and trying to get a pitcher through whatever he's out there doing."
• Following Friday's victory, 33 of Chicago's 40 games have been decided by three runs or fewer. The White Sox are 8-9 in one-run games, 3-5 in two-run games and 6-2 in three-run games for a 17-16 mark.
• The White Sox optioned right-handed pitcher Deunte Heath to Triple-A Charlotte after Friday's game and a corresponding roster move will be made before Saturday afternoon's contest. The White Sox could opt for a second southpaw in Donnie Veal, who has pitched eight scoreless innings over his last four appearances for the Knights.