8/2/2013 7:07 P.M. ET
Viciedo to become emergency option at first base
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Dayan Viciedo took grounders at first base prior to Friday's series opener against the Tigers, working with third-base coach Joe McEwing, but it has nothing to do with a potential position change now or in the future per White Sox manager Robin Ventura.
During a game in Cleveland this week, Ventura and his staff were making moves in the course of a game and realized they needed a first baseman but had already used Conor Gillaspie and didn't want to put in an extra catcher. In case that situation arises again, Ventura doesn't want Viciedo to come in cold.
"He'll have at least taken a couple of ground balls," said Ventura of Viciedo.
"At this point, I'm just taking ground balls there in case of an emergency," said Viciedo, through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. "But that's a place I played before and feel comfortable, too."
Viciedo has played left field (205 games), third base (23 games), right field (21 games) and first base (11 games) over the course of his four-year big league career. Despite an occasional throw made to the wrong base, Viciedo has become a very competent left fielder. He's tied for the American League lead in outfield assists at nine.
But the 24-year-old doesn't seem to have a problem changing positions once again.
"The more positions I can play, the better. Especially if I can help the team," Viciedo said. "I don't particularly say, 'Hey, I want to be the left fielder all the time.'
"Last year was the first time I was in the Majors in left field. This year I feel so much more comfortable in that position."
Ramirez sees continued decline in power numbers
DETROIT -- Through Alexei Ramirez's first four Major League seasons, he produced 69 total home runs with a single-season high of 21 as a rookie in 2008. That long ball total dipped to nine in 2012, even though Ramirez topped 70 RBIs for the fourth time.
But Ramirez entered Friday's contest at Comerica Park with just one home run, which came in the season's second game on April 3. He has gone 104 games and 423 at-bats without clearing the fences, but he doesn't have an explanation for the power outage.
"I have been working as hard as I always have and things haven't come out the way I want them to," said Ramirez through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. "I really don't have an explanation to say why the numbers are down.
"My swing is the same. I've been hitting in a spot where I need to get more on base and I need to be a little bit in control of my at-bats and moving the runner or hitting behind the runner. Things like that. It's a little bit different."
Ramirez has 304 of his at-bats this season from the two slot, where that bat control he talked about stands as a necessary tool of the trade. But he had 401 at-bats hitting second in 2011 and belted nine home runs from that lineup position.
That dip in production has been counter-balanced by an increase in stolen bases to 23. Nonetheless, Ramirez's name made its way around the non-waiver Trade Deadline rumor mill and he still could be moved in the August waiver period or in the offseason.
It's not a scenario that Ramirez gives much consideration.
"My career is here -- it started here," Ramirez said. "Whether they trade me or not, that's outside my control so there's nothing I can do about that. But for me, my career is here in Chicago."
Ventura: No limits on Sale's pitch, inning count
DETROIT -- Although Chris Sale threw a season-low 79 pitches Thursday afternoon in Cleveland, it had nothing to do with some sort of White Sox plan to reduce his workload.
"Yesterday was more of [that] it wasn't going well. It wasn't as much you are going to let him throw 120 pitches," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of his ace. "He wasn't having a good day and you are trying to get him out of it.
"I don't see us doing a pitch count or innings count on him. This year we have just been letting him go, and it's been better for him. We haven't had that situation where last year we kept running into either giving him six days and every once in a while skip him. Yesterday had nothing to do with any of that kind of stuff we did last year."
In his second full season as a starting pitcher, both of which earned Sale All-Star nods, the southpaw has gone 110 pitches or beyond in 11 separate starts. He topped that total eight times all of last year.
As Sale moves forward at the top of the White Sox rotation, the team is making sure Sale gets a big enough workload to be ready for future rigors of the job.
"Oh, absolutely," said Ventura of Sale, who has thrown 142 innings over 20 starts to date. "You have to make sure he builds up that strength and knows what it's like to pitch a full season and get through it and be one of those guys you count on."
Danks continues brushing up on mechanics
DETROIT -- The good news for John Danks' 2013 comeback from 2012 season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery is that he has walked only 13 over 82 2/3 innings. The bad news is that his sharp control is not as pinpoint within the strike zone, allowing 17 homers in just 13 starts.
But Danks believes a flaw in his mechanics has contributed to that elevated long ball count.
"There was a stretch there where I kept throwing the ball and the ball was cutting on me," Danks said. "I was trying to throw the ball down and away to a righty and it was cutting back over the plate.
"It's just mechanical. It's just part of the process."
Danks worked on correcting that flaw Thursday in Cleveland, in preparation for Saturday night's start against Detroit.
"That's what we've come up with," Danks said. "It's not something that's new. But definitely something we are going to keep working on."
Third to first
• Count Ventura as one who will be glad when the Biogenesis situation is wrapped up with Major League Baseball suspensions expected to be handed down in the next few days.
"I don't think anybody enjoys hearing it and seeing it and having to talk about it," Ventura said. "It's just one of those where you'll be glad where you don't have to talk about it."
Ventura believes that these potential suspensions will serve as a deterrent for future players who want to bend the rules. He also thought past suspensions would have had the same effect.
"Major League Baseball has done a great job from where I was playing to where they are now," Ventura said. "They are going to catch guys -- it's just that simple."
• Outfielder Avisail Garcia and infielder Marcus Semien made their debuts with Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday night. Garcia, acquired from Detroit in Tuesday's three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston, finished 0-for-2 and played center field, while Semien, who was promoted from Double-A Birmingham, went 2-for-5 while playing shortstop.
Outfielder Brandon Jacobs, picked up from Boston on July 12 in the Matt Thornton deal, has hit safely in all 15 games since joining Birmingham and has a .321 average.
• Since evening their record at 24-24 after a three-game home sweep of the Marlins completed on May 26, the White Sox have a 16-42 record, the worst in baseball during that 58-game stretch. The Giants are next at 20-37.