By Chris Vannini
Special to CSNChicago.com
DETROIT -- Before stretching and batting practice at Comerica Park on Friday, Dayan Viciedo was fielding ground balls at first base.
But don’t expect to see it in a game often. Robin Ventura explained later that it’s in case of an emergency.
“The other day, in Cleveland, we started pinch-hitting and doing a few different things and it came up that we might have to have somebody play first but we had already used Conor (Gillaspie),” Ventura said. “We didn’t really want to use an extra catcher over there. Remembering that (Viciedo) played some infield, just getting him some ground balls in case it comes up again that he won’t be going over there dry. He’ll have at least taken a couple of ground balls.
“It has nothing to do with him playing there or starting there, even next year. It was more if it comes up, I don’t want him to go over without having taken a ground ball.”
Viciedo played four games at first base for the White Sox in 2011 and seven games in 2010, including five starts over the two years.
“(I don’t) really forget about it,” Viciedo said through translator and coach Lino Diaz. “(I’ve) played there before. The more (I) practice in that position, the better (I) will be. But it wasn’t hard.”
Viciedo moved from right to left field in 2012 and that has continued this season. Ventura says he’s expected to remain an outfielder in 2014.
No innings count for Sale
Chris Sale was pulled from Thursday’s start having thrown just 79 pitches.
Ventura was asked Friday if, with not much to play for the rest of the year, the White Sox would try to watch the 24-year-old lefty and be careful with him the rest of the year.
Ventura said he was pulled simply because things weren’t going well. He had allowed five earned runs on 10 hits over five innings. Ventura doesn’t plan on slowing Sale down much, if at all.
“I don’t see us doing a pitch count or innings count on him,” Ventura said. “I think 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. We haven’t had that this year. So, with him, yesterday had nothing to do with any of that kind of stuff we did last year."
While the White Sox won’t be making the playoffs, Ventura wants Sale to get more experience of pitching through an entire season.
“If (being cautious with him) was that case, we probably wouldn’t even throw him, which is crazy, too,” Ventura said. “You have to make sure he build 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.”
Ventura pleased with MLB handling PEDs
Major League Baseball is expected to hand down suspensions related to Biogenesis in the next few days. The sooner it happens, the sooner the league can begin to move past it.
“Yeah, I don’t think anybody enjoys hearing it and seeing it and having to talk about it,” Ventura said. “As soon as it’s said, it’s just one of those where you’ll be glad where you don’t have to talk about.”
As a former player and union member, Ventura is happy with how MLB is handing things. As for if the suspensions will help deter others from using performance-enhancing drugs, he wasn’t sure.
“Well, I thought there would have been the last time (there were suspensions). “So, I think you are always going to have to be prepared. … I think Major League Baseball has done a great job from where I was playing to where they are now, it’s a better job. It’s getting tougher. They are going to catch guys. It’s just that simple. … I think they are handling it all right.
“Again, it’s something that they do have to talk to the union and go through those channels and do it. There’s a reason why they are doing it. They are not going to just throw it out there and wish they could take it back.”
The most notable player involved in the scandal is Alex Rodriguez, and the Yankees begin a three-game series in Chicago on Monday.