ST. PETERSBURG -- Third baseman Brent Morel was scheduled to begin his rehab assignment on Wednesday night with Triple-A Charlotte, and his eventual return to the White Sox could create a tough situation for manager Robin Ventura.
Morel was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 22, retroactive to May 18, due to a lumbar back strain. He struggled during his 35 games this season, batting .177 with a .420 OPS and 39 strikeouts.
Ventura said the injury was at least one factor in Morel's problems at the plate, but he had also been swinging too often at outside pitches. The White Sox want to make sure Morel is fully healthy when he comes back.
"We want to see that, and that's what we're looking for when he goes down and starts playing again," Ventura said. "We want to make sure that when he comes back, he's ready to go and not just trying to suck it up to be ready to play."
Having Morel back will create a difficult spot for Orlando Hudson, who has started at third base since signing with Chicago on May 22. The veteran infielder has hit .208 with a .655 OPS in eight games, and Ventura admitted that it will be a difficult decision to decide which player will be in the lineup.
"It is tough, because Orlando's playing well. He's kind of had a little infusion into the lineup. Part of it is his personality and part of the way he plays," Ventura said. "Those are always tough, because it's not like you like guys losing a job or, just from an injury standpoint, seeing him lose it. For me, [with] Brent, a lot of what was happening to him was because of his back, so we want to see where he's at."
Danks plays catch, reports no setbacks
ST. PETERSBURG -- White Sox pitcher John Danks played catch for about 10 minutes on Wednesday morning at Tropicana Field, and the left-hander reported no setbacks as he works his way back from left shoulder soreness.
Danks was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday, retroactive to May 20, and lefty Jose Quintana has filled his spot twice, including Wednesday's series finale against the Rays. White Sox manager Robin Ventura hopes Danks will be ready for his next turn through the rotation.
"It's the progression that you want to see. He feels better every time he goes out there and just does some light tossing," Ventura said. "He hasn't really had one where he's simulated pitching. From everything he's said and [head athletic trainer Herman Schneider] has said, he's on the right track.
"No setbacks or anything like that, so we'll just kind of keep moving it along."
In nine starts this season, Danks is 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA.
Third to first
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he didn't check with catcher A.J. Pierzynski about starting Wednesday afternoon's series finale after a Tuesday night game due to the number of off-days Chicago has coming up and the fact that Pierzynski had off Sunday. Ventura hasn't done much to change his lineup at all during the South Siders' seven-game winning streak entering Monday.
"It's hard to change it. They look fine. They're hitting well," Ventura said. "We have a lot of off-days coming up. There's plenty of time for guys to get rest."
Dayan Viciedo is 13-for-25 with four homers and 12 RBIs over his last six games entering Wednesday.
After allowing 16 earned runs over 23 innings spanning seven outings from May 13-19, the White Sox bullpen has allowed only five earned runs over 28 innings for a 1.61 ERA and .173 opponents' average over their last nine games entering Wednesday. They have issued only seven walks during that span, eight of the outings have been two innings or more and six have been scoreless.