(MCT) — GLENDALE, Ariz. — One month remains before the start of the regular season, which is why White Sox manager Robin Ventura was only cautiously optimistic Wednesday after Dayan Viciedo collected two singles while using a leg kick before each swing.
“It’ll be a work in progress for a little while,” Ventura said after an 8-4 win over the Rangers. “I don’t expect him to get it right away.”
Viciedo hit 25 home runs and drove in 78 runs last year, but he struck out 120 times and had a .300 on-base percentage. Ventura has noticed improvement while throwing batting practice to him.
“Last year he got into a mode of he was swinging no matter what, and the leg kick gives you a little more balance of pushing you back and getting recognition and going after it,” Ventura said.
Castro’s comeback: Simon Castro took a positive first step in what the Sox view as a rebuilding year.
Castro allowed one hit in three innings in his first exhibition start. Castro, 24, made two trips to the disabled list in 2012 because of arm injuries and finished with a 7-5 record and 3.85 ERA in 21 starts at three minor league levels.
“I’m not focusing on what happened last year,” said Castro, who came to the Sox in the Carlos Quentin trade with the Padres before the 2012 season. “I’m just focusing on what’s going to happen this year. I’m just going to focus on an everyday basis now.”
Extra innings: Conor Gillaspie, competing for time at third base, lined a two-run home run and has six RBIs in his last two games. “He’s going up and he’s not waiting around,” Ventura said. “He’s an aggressive kid and a tough-minded kid too. (Brent) Morel and him get up and they’re getting after it.” ... Designated hitter Adam Dunn suffered a bruise above his right elbow after getting hit by a pitch in the fifth. ... Shortstop Alexei Ramirez returned to Miami to attend to a family matter. Ramirez is expected to rejoin the team this weekend.