GLENDALE, Ariz. -- On the first 2011 Cactus League chance Dayan Viciedo had in right field, the rookie outfielder made a slick catch on a Rickie Weeks line drive slicing away toward the foul line.
"That's natural," said a smiling Viciedo of the play, speaking through translator Jackson Miranda. "Natural instinct."
Viciedo actually played right field during his three professional years in Cuba, joking on Tuesday how one crazy manager actually put the 5-foot-11, 230-pounder in center field for a game. So, Viciedo's seamless conversion from Minor League time spent at third base and first base to the outfield during this present Spring Training should come as no surprise.
But with three more hits during Tuesday's 9-8 victory over Colorado and another outfield assist, throwing Ben Paulsen out at home in the eighth, Viciedo has been making his case stronger by the day to earn an Opening Day roster spot over other solid candidates such as Brent Lillibridge, Alejandro De Aza and Lastings Milledge. Viciedo feels supremely comfortable in right, which is of greatest importance in this particular scenario.
2010 Spring Training - null
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"The hardest thing is keeping up with the pitchers and what they are going to pitch in order to know and make adjustments during the game," Viciedo said. "You pretty much have to keep moving just to have scenarios of where the ball might land.
"When you play third base, every pitch you have to be on point because something might be coming toward you. You have to pay attention. When you are out in the outfield, you might get a fly ball every once in a while. You might have a dribble coming out there. You are not as intense in your concentration as much as you would be at third."
Early defensive work with Minor League outfield instructor Daryl Boston and seven-time Gold Glove outfielder Devon White, who also is the organization's baserunning instructor, has helped Viciedo develop. Viciedo cautions that past experience at the position doesn't automatically mean he will be flawless.
"It has been a long time since I played it. There might be plays I might be confused on how to really play out," Viciedo said. "There might be a few errors here and there, but that should be seen as natural because I'm relearning that position."