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03/18/09 8:27 PM ET
Viciedo gone, but not forgotten
Cuban infielder to start season at Triple-A
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Dayan Viciedo, one of the most intriguing players in White Sox camp, is gone. But not for long, and for good reason. The infielder from Cuba was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte to speed his assimilation to American baseball and to get ample playing time.
Even getting the chance to start off at Triple-A at his age speaks volumes of Viciedo's potential.
"Yeah, he's only 19. At least, I hope he's 19," said manager Ozzie Guillen, alluding to the age-revision some players from Latin American have undergone.
Guillen's hope goes unanswered -- Viciedo is no longer a teen, having turned 20 a few days ago.
But, still, the potential he flashed in his month in the big league camp has Sox people stoked about the near future.
"The kid's going to be a superstar in this game," Guillen said. "But he's got to play every day. Playing every other day here didn't do him any good."
Viciedo had mixed success in Cactus League play, appearing in half of Chicago's first 20 exhibitions and batting .231. In 26 at-bats, he had two homers and a double.
"He checked in a bit overweight, but he's a big kid," Guillen said. "That's the type of body he has."
In reality, Viciedo only stands 5-foot-11. And he weighed in at 240 pounds. Prince Fielder, baseball's resident infield heavyweight, also measures 5-foot-11 and weighed in at 270. But he plays first, which doesn't demand as much mobility as third base, Viciedo's position.
"Maybe he'll play one year in the Minors. But we want to get him ready as soon as we can," Guillen went on. "The talent is there. But its not that easy to make the transition to American baseball.
"A lot of things are just different. People sometimes don't understand that. People think if you're from Cuba, you're great. But not many from Cuba are Major League successes in their first season here. This kid still has the opportunity to do that."
Starting off in Triple-A certainly hastens Viciedo's development, but Guillen had no voice in that decision.
"As soon as they leave the room," he said, referring to the clubhouse, "I have no say-so."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.