Sitting surging Viciedo now tough call

Replacing Dayan Viciedo with Adam Dunn in left field for the Chicago White Sox’s upcoming series with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field seemed like a no-brainer when the week started.

Viciedo had a rough opening month at the plate, and he didn’t look like he was getting any better in May. He had just six hits in his first 34 at-bats in May, his average plummeted to .196 with a 0-for-3 game on Sunday.

Taking Viciedo out the lineup for three games against the Cubs was going to be an easy decision for manager Robin Ventura. The fact Dunn, who has been the designated hitter, has looked like his old self and been hitting the ball out of the park on a regular basis also made it logical to keep him in the lineup.

But then Viciedo did the unexpected --he starting hitting.

He went 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs against the Detroit Tigers on Monday. He went 2-for-5 with a RBI and nearly hit a game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth against the Tigers on Tuesday. He followed that up with three more hits, including a home run, and a RBI against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.

In the span of three days, Viciedo raised his average 41 points and added two home runs and six RBIs. He was hitting .237 with five home runs and 11 RBIs heading into Thursday’s game.

By the numbers, it would seem like the worst time to take Viciedo out of the lineup. But as Ventura said prior to Thursday’s game, he doesn’t have much of a choice entering the Cubs’ series on Friday.

“Right now, Adam will be playing left field (Friday) and kind of go from there,” Ventura told reporters on Wednesday.

The other options for Viciedo could be right field and third base, but neither seems realistic. Alex Rios has been consistent in right field, and while the White Sox could use an upgrade at third base with Brent Morel struggling at the plate, Ventura didn’t like the idea of Viciedo returning to third base, which he previous played.

“I don’t think so,” Ventura said. “I think he’ll stay in left. I don’t think he come back to the infield.”

What it all means is one of the White Sox’s hottest hitters likely will be demoted to a pinch-hitting role against the Cubs. The White Sox have to hope that when Viciedo returns to being an everyday player next week he can rediscover his recent hitting surge.