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posted: 6/20/2012 9:59 PM

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  • Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.comLeft fielder Dayan Viciedo might end up being the most viable option for the White Sox at third base.

      Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.comLeft fielder Dayan Viciedo might end up being the most viable option for the White Sox at third base.

 
 

As White Sox general manager, Kenny Williams is responsible for giving manager Robin Ventura the best possible players.

Williams is working with a tight budget this season, but he clearly has to find a better third baseman.

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Williams already has tried, signing Orlando Hudson to the prorated league minimum $480,000 after he was released by the San Diego Padres.

Hudson has not been a total bust, but he hardly has been the answer. A second baseman for 11 seasons before joining the Sox on May 22, Hudson has made some good plays at third, and he has made some bad ones.

A throwing error in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Cubs was particularly costly, and Hudson also went 0-for-4 while popping out with the bases loaded and one out. Afterward, without being asked a question, Hudson snapped.

"I (bleeped) it up," he said. "I lost the game for the man (Jake Peavy), that's it. The man threw a (heck) of a game, I lost it for him. Point blank."

Mired in an 0-for-11 slump and batting .167 with 1 home run and 10 RBI in 25 games with the White Sox, Hudson was not in the starting lineup Wednesday night.

"With Hud learning third and things like that, it's just a mental break," Ventura said. "We have a day off tomorrow, put Escy (Eduardo Escobar) in there and see how that goes.

"He's learning it, at the same time there's a learning curve to it, and I just want to kind of take his mind off it and let him play."

Escobar, a natural shortstop, made a standout defensive play in the second inning, diving to his right to glove a Darwin Barney smash before throwing him out at first base.

He also drew a leadoff walk off Cubs starter Randy Wells in the third inning, stole second and scored the White Sox' first run.

That's fine, but Escobar is a utility infielder. So is Brent Lillibridge.

Brent Morel was the Sox' starting third baseman at the start of the season, but he is out indefinitely with a lumbar back strain.

All told, White Sox third basemen have 1 home run and a .460 OPS (on-base plus slugging), the lowest percentage at the position in the majors.

So, what are the options?

Williams doesn't have the money, or prospects, needed in a trade for a player such as Boston's Kevin Youkilis, so he's likely going to have to stay in house to patch the gaping hole.

What about moving Dayan Viciedo back to third base?

Viceido played 23 games at third for the Sox in 2010-11, and he wasn't great (39 total chances, 4 errors).

But there is no doubt he'd be a huge offensive upgrade, and the White Sox could plug Jordan Danks into left field -- Viciedo's current position -- or call up Dan Johnson from Class AAA Charlotte.

Williams already has pondered moving Viciedo to third base.

"I did (bring it up), but it was just in conversation and I was shot down in the room pretty quickly," Williams said. "Just because you throw out things and you banter them about.

"(Viciedo) wasn't as bad over there as people want to think he was. I think in an emergency situation he can go in there. He'd probably be scared to death right now. He's probably best where he is."

For now, maybe Viciedo stays out in left field.

But unless the 34-year-old Hudson suddenly rediscovers his bat speed, making Viciedo the White Sox' next third baseman is an idea that can't be dismissed.

He might be scared, as Williams mentioned, but nothing seems to bother Viciedo, and he also has played right field and first base.

What's one more move?

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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