Friday, December 12, 2008

Baseball: Viciedo faces challenges

Chicago Tribune, December 12, 2008

By Mark Gonzales

Dayan Viciedo looks forward to several challenges now that his four-year, $10 million contract with the White Sox became official Friday. The 19-year-old Cuban third baseman knows he needs to lose 16 pounds, give or take a few ounces, before spring training starts in mid-February. "I feel like at 230 I'll be at a very good weight," the 6-foot-1 Viciedo said Friday on a conference call with reporters. "Two-thirty is the target weight."

Viciedo said the knowledge of having two fellow Cubans in Alexei Ramirez and Jose Contreras on the Sox's roster swayed him toward the Sox. He will start workouts next week in Florida with Ramirez, who will help acclimate him to the United States. Viciedo said he also is motivated by the fact that Josh Fields has the inside track at starting at third base. "It motivates me to go to spring training and give everything I have," Viciedo said. Viciedo has been projected by several scouts as a first baseman or designated hitter, but he has worked out in right field and said he will play any position asked.

Viciedo, 19, played three seasons with Villa Clara in the Cuban League, batting .296 (237-801) with 32 home runs and 123 RBI in 233 games. Viciedo compiled a .500-plus slugging percentage in two of his three seasons playing in Serie Nacional, Cuba’s top-level league. Viciedo hit .294 (52-177) with 10 home runs and 38 RBI in 57 games with Villa Clara in 2007-08. He was named to the CL All-Star Team during the 2005-06 season after hitting .337 (109-323) with 14 home runs, 58 RBI and a .542 slugging percentage. At age 15, Viciedo was named Most Valuable Player of the World Junior Championships in Villahermosa, Mexico. Viciedo declined to address issues regarding Cuba, the country he defected from last summer.

No comments: