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updated: 8/28/2011 11:39 PM

Viciedo arrives in big way for White Sox

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  • Associated PressChicago White Sox Dayan Viciedo rounds the bases on his three-run home run against Seattle Mariners in the fourth inning Sunday in Seattle.

      Associated PressChicago White Sox Dayan Viciedo rounds the bases on his three-run home run against Seattle Mariners in the fourth inning Sunday in Seattle.

 

Let the second-guessing begin.

For months, the White Sox struggled to score runs and spun their wheels in the standings.

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For months, Class AAA Charlotte's Dayan Viciedo hammered International League pitching and was just a phone call away from coming up and pumping needed life into the Sox.

It took a Carlos Quentin shoulder injury to finally get Viciedo back to the big leagues, and you just knew what was going to happen.

In his second at-bat during Sunday's 9-3 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field, Viciedo lasered a 3-run homer over the center-field fence and the Sox were off and running.

That begs the obvious question: What took so long?

In June, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said Viciedo was ready to go, but only if manager Ozzie Guillen wanted him on the roster.

Guillen in turn, viewed Viciedo's promotion as Juan Pierre's demotion, so he went on the attack in his defense of the veteran leadoff man.

Simply sitting Adam Dunn or Alex Rios and sticking Viciedo in the lineup would have been the best strategy, but you don't simply sit players who are making $12 million per this season.

So Viciedo bided his time, and he also dealt with a sore right hand before returning to Charlotte's lineup and continuing his push toward the majors.

The 22-year-old right fielder is here, and Guillen was offering no apologies for the lengthy delay after Sunday's win.

"I don't give a (darn) what people say," Guillen told reporters. "People out there have their opinion and that's their job to talk. Nothing I can do about it. In the time they wanted that kid here, I (didn't) have any place for him. We had to make a trade or release somebody."

The Sox traded Mark Teahen to the Toronto Blue Jays on July 27, but Viciedo's hand was hurting and Alejandro De Aza got the call. Now that he's on the roster, maybe Viciedo can help the White Sox run down first-place Detroit in September.

The Sox improved to 66-65 with Sunday's win, and Tyler Flowers' grand slam in the sixth inning capped the three-game sweep.

Not only did the White Sox pick up a game on the Tigers -- they are 6 out -- they moved into second place in the AL Central for the first time since April 12.

Extending the winning streak into this weekend's three-game series at Detroit could make the race interesting, and Viciedo's bat gives the Sox a fighting chance.

"It's not a secret this kid can play," Guillen said. "I think over the last two years he put himself in a great position to play in the big leagues. Now it's an opportunity for him. I've said in the past if he's here, I'll play him. He's here. He's playing."

Batting sixth, Viciedo also reached on a bloop single in his first at-bat and walked.

"It feels really good," Viciedo told reporters through an translator. "All the conditioning and all the work that I've been doing, to get 3 RBI and a home run felt really good."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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