CHICAGO -- Following the recent 6-3 West Coast road trip, White Sox general manager Ken Williams seems to have gained a better understanding of his underachieving team.
It's just not quite clear whether Williams will wait to see if things change or if it's time to make a change.
"I got a read on a few things," said Williams, sitting in the White Sox dugout prior to Wednesday's series opener with the American League Central-leading Indians. "It's best I don't say anything right now."
Williams was asked directly about the bounce-back ability possessed by Juan Pierre, the hard-working veteran leadoff man, who has struggled in almost every facet of the game. Pierre entered Wednesday with a .198 average (20-for-101) in his last 27 contests, not to mention six errors in left field and just six stolen bases in 14 attempts.
There even was mention of a more power-packed outfield, which possibly could feature Carlos Quentin, Alex Rios and Dayan Viciedo. Once again, Williams deferred his thoughts on any matter to a later date, "probably about June 1," to be specific, when the White Sox complete their third three-city road trip since April 18. That excursion takes them to Texas, Toronto and Boston, covering 10 games.
"When I'm ready to speak on it, I'll speak on it," Williams said. "I got a few things on my mind."
Walker points to frustration in hitters' approach
CHICAGO -- The much-maligned White Sox offense produced a .282 average over the past 10 games, during which the White Sox finished 7-3. That number compares most favorably to a .202 stretch during the prior 24, when they compiled a dismal 5-19 mark.According to White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker, one of the keys to this team's attack simply stands as swinging at strikes. That expanded strike zone was on display early on in Tuesday's 4-3 victory over the Rangers.
"We were absolutely brutal with some of the pitches we swung at," said Walker. "We took some walks, got ourselves in some RBI situations and we swung at balls that were not even competitive pitches.
"If there has been one overall problem with this team, that's it. And that comes out in frustrated hitters. You start predetermining how, 'This is going to be a strike and I'm going to swing at it.' Just not making good decisions on the balls you are swinging at.
"It's tough enough to hit a strike in this league, much less a ball that's out of the zone," Walker said. "We have to get better at it, if we are going to be consistent."
Walker admitted correcting the strike zone judgment ends up being on the hitters to a certain extent. But that thought doesn't stop Walker and assistant hitting coach Mike Gellinger from working on ideas and incentives for hitters to get the ball on the plate.
"The first step is to get where the fight is against the other team and not yourself," Walker said. "You are not thinking about where my hands are or what he's going to do. Just give me a good quality at-bat, fight every pitch and don't give away anything.
"You start gaining confidence and build off of that. This game will bury you if you sit back and wait for something good to happen or are frustrated and hope you do well. You have to go out and fight.
"Last night started off brutal, but [Brent] Morel got the home run and you saw the same look in everybody's eyes we had on the whole road trip," Walker said. "Maintain that every game. We don't have any room for error."
Right field holds Viciedo's big league future
CHICAGO -- The days of Dayan Viciedo as a third baseman seem to have been replaced by this top White Sox prospect moving almost exclusively to the outfield.
"Particularly in right field," said White Sox general manager Ken Williams. "He is very good out there."
White Sox Minor League director Buddy Bell and Williams talked about Viciedo two weeks ago and decided to mix him in at first base every now and then for Triple-A Charlotte. Viciedo's experience at first helps keep the White Sox insulated in case something happens to Adam Dunn or Paul Konerko.
"And if we run into a situation where we need him up here in the big leagues, and let's say you pinch-run for Adam or Paulie while they're playing first base and you got another guy who can come in and play that as well," Williams said. "That's the thought behind it. He's taking ground balls every now and then at third base, so we might mix him in there, too, with the same mindset."
Williams has stressed that the ball comes off Viciedo's bat better than almost any hitter in the organization. With Viciedo's offense serving as his main asset, the White Sox don't want to mess too much with his defensive position.
"We're very mindful of not making him [switch positions frequently], not disrupting him too much, because he's really come on strong with that bat," said Williams of Viciedo, who is hitting .322, with 32 RBIs and a .865 OPS.
Third to first
Omar Vizquel became the second-oldest player (44 years and 24 days) in Major League history to play a game at shortstop, making his third start at shortstop on Wednesday. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Bobby Wallace of the St. Louis Cardinals was 44 years and 295 days old when he last played shortstop on Aug. 26, 1918. Vizquel also extended his hitting streak to six games (8-for-17). The White Sox have won back-to-back games at home for the first time since April 9-10 against Tampa Bay. Wednesday's game time of 2 hours, 1 minute was the club's shortest of the season. In their last eight home games, the White Sox are 3-for-43 with runners in scoring position. They have hit .150 overall in their last five home games. Dallas McPherson made his first Major League start since Sept. 10, 2008, playing third on Wednesday. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. The White Sox are 3-10 in their last 13 home games, but they have won eight of their last 11 overall. White Sox pitchers own a 14-inning scoreless streak.