PHOENIX -- For many fans, seeing the future in the XM All-Star Futures Game requires a bit of squinting. The future can seem very distant when looking at teenagers pitching or playing in the low Minors.
For White Sox fans, however, the future could scarcely look any clearer. In fact, in the cases of both of Chicago's Futures Game representatives, the future has already arrived once. And it's easy to see it coming again any time now.
Outfielder Dayan Viciedo and right-handed reliever Gregory Infante both appeared in the Major Leagues for brief stints in 2010, and each acquitted himself well. Both players are contributing at a high level at Triple-A Charlotte, and both play positions where the White Sox could use some help. Fortunately for the club and its fans, though, both players are still focusing primarily on taking care of the work at hand.
"Right now, I'm just concentrating on my pitching, my consistency and that's all really that I can do," Infante said through an MLB.com interpreter prior to Sunday's game at Chase Field.
Also speaking through an MLB.com interpreter, Viciedo was even briefer: "The decision belongs to them," he said.
Viciedo, who went 1-for-3 with a run as the World Team's designated hitter in the 6-4 loss to the U.S., is making that decision difficult. He's moved to the outfield after playing first and third base for the first two years of his professional career, and he's hitting better than ever. Viciedo sports a .325 average, .374 on-base percentage and a .535 slugging percentage for Charlotte, with 16 homers and 24 doubles. He's striking out less and walking more this year than last.
And he's doing it while the White Sox look for production from their outfield. It's not difficult to envision Viciedo gracing the outfield and batter's box at U.S. Cellular Field in the near future. He feels he's much more prepared than he was last year, when he had a brief and successful stint with the big club between late June and early August.
"I feel a lot more comfortable than I was last year," he said. "It was an experience, let me just say that. It was an experience. But I have that experience, and having that, I think I can deal with it."
The need to call up Infante may not be as pressing, but it's still very reasonable to think he could help the White Sox sooner than later. A hard-throwing, ground-balling right-hander, he has big-time stuff and improving control. Infante did not pitch in the Futures Game.
Infante made five appearances with Chicago last year, allowing four walks and two hits in 4 2/3 innings. He's trying every day to use that stint to his advantage.
"It was a great motivating factor for me, he said. "It gave me a little taste. When you're a rookie, you're a young player, you really don't know what it's going to be like. You don't know if you have the things to get there. But when you get there and you show you can do it, it just motivates you to get back."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer, and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.