GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Brent Morel had one double in four at-bats during Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Giants at Camelback Ranch, placing his Cactus League average at .242.
Ultimately, Morel's numbers with the bat in Arizona won't dictate whether he is or isn't the White Sox starting third baseman come April 1. His two sterling defensive plays behind Mark Buehrle support his cause much stronger than a four-hit effort. But with a Major League job on the line, the pressure can get a bit overwhelming, even during Spring Training.
So two days off given to Morel by manager Ozzie Guillen after Guillen thought he was pressing last Thursday night against the D-backs have seemed to do wonders for Morel's confidence.
"You know you are in a battle, and even if stats don't matter or whatever else doesn't matter, you still want to do as well as you can," Morel said. "You are trying everything you can to make the team.
2010 Spring Training - Chicago White Sox
News & Features
- Five top prospects among White Sox camp invitees
- White Sox release Spring Training schedule
- Humber solid in final outing against Astros
- Talented pieces in place throughout system
- Floyd, bullpen knocked around by Brewers
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Morel feels as if his swing has stayed in a good place and just had to do a little positioning switch balance-wise to get himself back to how he felt at the start of camp. Guillen was impressed with what he saw from his potential third-base starter on Wednesday.
"He was great. He had good at-bats," said Guillen. "It's not easy when someone's trying to make the team and everybody's in his ear.
"The battle is still there. I don't expect him to come to Spring Training and hit 10,000. As long as he's getting good at-bats, battling through his at-bats, that is all we can ask of him."
Guillen pleased with roster battles
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- That plea made by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen about one week ago for players to step up and earn the final spots on the 25-man roster has turned out big results.
Lastings Milledge has looked good both offensively and defensively in the outfield. Brent Lillibridge launched a home run during Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Giants, and Alejandro De Aza also has played well in his opportunities. All three have a little bit of pop, with speed added in, while Lillibridge has the value of playing outfield and infield.
"I think the battle for that spot is getting fun," said Guillen of the fight for the final utility man position.
Guillen mentioned the same rise in competition for the 12th and final pitcher. Phil Humber, Shane Lindsay and Brian Bruney have staked their claim to that opening, with Gregory Infante adding his name to the list through Guillen's postgame praise on Wednesday.
Infante pitched a scoreless ninth, fanning one.
"We're going to continue to give everybody looks," Guillen said. "But right now Infante has been throwing the ball well and I'm hearing a lot of good things from [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper]."
Finalizing the roster could go down to the last few days of camp. The White Sox still have a decision to make on whether to start with 11 or 12 pitches and whether Jake Peavy will be completely ready to make the trip with the team for Opening Day.
Buehrle back on track
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Mark Buehrle returned to Opening Day form Wednesday, after giving up 15 hits and seven earned runs over his last six innings. Buehrle allowed one run over five innings during a 5-3 loss to the Giants, matching Giants ace Tim Lincecum pitch for pitch.
The southpaw picked off Brandon Belt from first base, so that move looks in Gold Glove form. But aside from the big crowd on hand, with many fans following the World Series champion Giants, Buehrle said throwing to starting catcher A.J. Pierzynski also gave the game a regular-season feel.
"We work well together and get into a routine," said Buehrle of working with his batterymate. "This is the first time I've thrown to him in Spring Training. I think they didn't have their A lineup in there, but they had some pretty good guys to face, they were bunting, they kind of mixed everything up, so it felt good.
"Today, I was taking it a little bit easier, not overthrowing and mostly working on location and movement, more than I was trying to throw the ball hard. That's a strength of mine, location and movement and offspeed pitches and keeping them off balance."
Buehrle was frustrated after his previous two starts by failing to minimize the damage after giving up the hits. He allowed only one run off the seven hits Wednesday.
Peavy under the weather but expected to start
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jake Peavy was not at the White Sox complex on Wednesday due to an illness. Manager Ozzie Guillen expects the right-hander, battling back from a completely torn tendon that connects the lat muscle to the bone in his right posterior shoulder, to stay on schedule for his start Saturday against the A's in Phoenix.
Third to first
Alejandro De Aza appeared to hit a home run with one out in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Giants, as his drive looked as if it landed on the bullpen covering in left. The third-base umpire ruled the ball in play, and De Aza was thrown out at third after thinking the ball was gone. ... Mark Buehrle retired friend and former teammate Aaron Rowand in all three at-bats Wednesday, throwing primarily curveballs to the affable center fielder from the 2005 World Series champions. "I'm just glad A.J. [Pierzynski] didn't tell him what was coming," said Buehrle with a laugh, referring to Pierzynski and Rowand being Spring Training roommates.