ST. PETERSBURG -- A brief mental-health break for rookie Brent Morel extended to a third straight game on Thursday, with Mark Teahen getting the call at third. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has made it clear that Morel is his starting third baseman, and he hopes Morel will respond positively to this respite, just as he did during a brief Spring Training break when he was struggling at the plate.
"He will be back tomorrow," said Guillen, who will send Morel and his 1-for-16 slump against Justin Verlander in Detroit on Friday. "The thing is that Teahen played well yesterday and made a couple of nice plays. I need a bat. I need a lefty in the lineup. I need to get my offense going and that's the reason he's going back at third base."
Beckham has faith he will break out offensively
ST. PETERSBURG -- Gordon Beckham got the night off Thursday in the series finale between the White Sox and the Rays at Tropicana Field. And when the struggling second baseman returns this weekend, look for manager Ozzie Guillen to move him down in the order.
"I tried to think about the last couple of days, to move him down and make him relax a little bit," said Guillen of Beckham, who has two hits in his last 25 at-bats and is 5-for-41 in his last 11 games. "I think it worked in the past, and hopefully it will work now."
Guillen threw out names such as Alex Rios, A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez as possible replacements in the lineup's No. 2 slot. He also mentioned third baseman Brent Morel, because the rookie can handle the bat and hit behind runners.
Beckham went through much-publicized struggles for an extended period in 2010, hitting .199 as late as June 23, before rebounding to hit a robust .310 the rest of the season. He also has not performed well in the two-hole, posting a .226 career average over 336 at-bats in that slot.
As for this current drought on offense, coming after he hit .355 during his first 31 at-bats, a very direct Beckham expressed confidence in a quick turnaround. He feels good at the plate, and points out tough times are fairly widespread throughout the lineup.
"Let's just say there has been no luck, and I haven't been swinging the bat great," said Beckham, who was replaced by Omar Vizquel. "Those two together are going to create outs and this little downslide I'm in. Sometimes you go down to go back up. It's a matter of time, I think. I feel good. I feel like I'm putting the ball in play and doing the right thing. It just hasn't worked out yet.
"I'm a little frustrated right now, because I have to answer these questions, but the last thing I can do is get frustrated about this. I've been really good in terms of the way I feel. It's not like I'm up there flailing at balls. I'm putting the ball in play.
"There's a miss here or there, but I'm really not worried about it," Beckham said. "You never want to have to deal with this, and I've gone through it plenty of times obviously. But it's early, it's really early. I've got a lot of faith that it's right around the corner. I thought that a couple of days ago."
Pierre ready to bid farewell to the Rays
ST. PETERSBURG -- You can't blame Juan Pierre if he has had just about enough of the Rays, especially their outfield defense.
Pierre entered Thursday's series finale with six RBIs, but he legitimately could have six more, if not for a trio of great plays made by Sam Fuld and Matt Joyce. Fuld robbed Pierre at U.S. Cellular Field with the bases loaded on what might end up as the defensive play of the year, and Joyce has made two great catches in right on Pierre over the first three games.
Joyce's running, leaping catch at the wall with two runners on in the fifth on Wednesday not only cost Pierre two RBIs and an extra-base hit, but cost the White Sox a prime shot at breaking out of their losing streak.
"Mine came with guys in scoring position and stuff, but it's amazing how they have been playing, and not only on me," Pierre said. "You have to tip your hat. The way it has been going for us now, if we are winning games, those balls drop."
"We've had the edge right now," said Rays manager Joe Maddon of his team's defense against Pierre. "But he has had good at-bats."
Thursday marked the last of eight games this season for the White Sox against the Rays, an ending which should boost Pierre's future RBI total. Just to play things safe, Pierre actually bunted in each of his first three at-bats during a 9-2 victory.
"I definitely don't want to see Joyce or Fuld again for the rest of the year," said Pierre with a laugh, "unless it's the playoffs."
It's never too early for success
ST. PETERSBURG -- For those viewing the White Sox slow start with no worries, with 143 games remaining after Thursday, check out Juan Pierre's comments for a brief dose of reality.
"It's never early to get hits and to win games," Pierre said. "Losing teams say that it's early. But the quicker we get out of this, the quicker we will be in it the long run. We don't want to keep this up."
Third to first
Carlos Quentin has a six-game hitting streak. Fifteen of his 22 hits have gone for extra bases this season.
Sergio Santos still has yet to be scored upon in 2011, dating back to Spring Training.
White Sox pitchers struck out 10-plus batters for the fifth time this season. Their staff also leads the American League with just 51 walks allowed.