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."