His time limited, Morel eager to improve
Rookie infielder understands Guillen's strategy
CHICAGO -- Brent Morel knocked out three hits during a 6-3 White Sox victory over Detroit on July 25. For his solid effort, the rookie third baseman sat for the next three games before starting three straight.
While Morel has looked steadily more comfortable at the plate as the season has progressed, hitting .250 with 17 RBIs entering Tuesday's contest against the Yankees, manager Ozzie Guillen remains careful with his usage. He's looking for the best matchups with Morel, which the infielder seems to understand.
"I know we just need to win right now," Morel said. "[Ozzie] is going to put the guys out there giving us the best chance of winning. When I'm in the lineup, hopefully I can just help the team win."
"I'm trying to put this kid in the best spot for him," Guillen said. "If it's a guy that I don't think he can handle very well, I will use Omar [Vizquel]. But he's done what we think he can do. Our offense has been so bad that it doesn't look like the guy contributes, but yes, he does. When the season started, I would have taken .250, .260 out of him [if] he played the way he plays third base."
Vizquel got the starting nod on Tuesday against right-hander Phil Hughes, although Morel hit the ball hard three times against American League Cy Young Award candidate CC Sabathia in Monday's 3-2 loss. Morel feels "a little disappointed" over his entire body of work as a rookie, adding that he had higher hopes for his debut season.
But Morel still isn't sure as to whether he will be more of a run producer or an average hitter when he has a chance to get consistent at-bats. As of now, he's just trying to stay sharp in between starts.
"Right now, I'm still trying to fine-tune my approach and work on having quality at-bats and hopefully keep progressing, at-bat by at-bat," said Morel, who is hitting .265 vs. righties and .224 against lefties. "Wherever I end up, I end up. I'm just looking to go out there and have consistent at-bats.
"I've been doing that lately, so I'm just trying to keep that up when I get in there."
Peavy balancing effort against stamina
CHICAGO -- In Jake Peavy's start against Detroit on July 26, he pitched at maximum effort from the start and sort of ran out of gas shortly after the 75-pitch mark. On Monday against the Yankees, Peavy paced himself a little better, got stronger as the game progressed and threw a season-high 115 pitches.
Finding that competitive balance with Peavy in his first season after having major surgery to reattach his right lat muscle last July is the goal for the veteran hurler, pitching coach Don Cooper and the White Sox.
"We have to take this guy as far as we can take him and continue to try to build up more and more arm strength," Cooper said. "The only way you do that is by going out in-game and throwing the ball. We do have to keep an eye on him where he doesn't hit a wall. We need to take him far enough to where he just kind of gets to that wall.
"Again, he's not at full strength, but he certainly has enough to go out there and win ballgames. He's going to have be on top of his game, as far as movement and command. Right now, the arm strength -- like he said, and like we see -- it's not quite there. It's coming, and I'm always optimistic. Hopefully, it comes more this year, but we are also looking for the future."
Though stronger, Konerko won't be rushed
CHICAGO -- White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko sat out for the second time in as many games on Tuesday against the Yankees due to a sore left calf/knee, having taken a 95-mph fastball from Andrew Miller in that area during Sunday's loss to the Red Sox. Manager Ozzie Guillen talked to his team captain before Tuesday's game and liked the progress he had made from Monday.
Guillen still doesn't want to push Konerko, who might not return until the last game of this four-game set, or for Friday's series opener in Minnesota.
"If he moves forward the way he did from yesterday until today, he might get a shot," said Guillen of Konerko. "All of the stuff he does is about hitting, and he needs to use his legs very well.
"He hopefully can take some flips and start hitting tomorrow, and we'll figure it out, because tomorrow, he's going to start hitting to see how it feels. It's going to be hard for him to say, 'I'm good; let's go play.' You want to, but coming from me, I said, 'I know we need you,' but meanwhile, I don't want him to go out there and start getting bad at-bats just to be there.
"We'll make sure that when he's back, he can help us," Guillen said. "He's going to start hitting tomorrow, and we'll see what happens and how he feels."
Prior to Tuesday's rain-shortened 6-0 loss, Guillen was set on having Konerko play first base upon his return. Guillen hedged that statement a bit late Tuesday, saying Konerko could serve as a designated hitter if he's ready.
Dunn trying to unlock secret behind struggles
CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen offered up four words when asked before Tuesday's game for his reaction to Adam Dunn's ongoing 2011 struggles.
"I want to cry," said Guillen with an uncomfortable laugh. "A lot of 'swing and a miss.' Right now, I think he's guessing. A lot of the time he's guessing what's coming, and a lot of times he may be guessing the wrong pitch. It gets to the point when you struggle that bad, you just want to put the ball in play.
"This kid has tried everything. Just name it. Videos, extra hitting, left-handed pitching, Minor League pitching, every pitching. It's just not clicking for him right now."
Not clicking for Dunn this entire season, actually. He exited Tuesday's 6-0 loss hitting .165 with 38 RBIs and was a meager 3-for-77 against southpaws. After CC Sabathia fanned Dunn twice in key situations on Monday, the big lefty respectfully admitted to pitching around Carlos Quentin to get to Dunn in those moments. It's part of the problems produced by Dunn's failure and the rest of the lineup not exactly picking him up.
"Every player has struggled, no matter how good you've been in this league -- some for longer than others," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi when asked about Dunn. "It's frustrating, and you never know when it's going to turn. The big thing is you have to keep working and believing in yourself."
Third to first
Major League Baseball legend and one-time White Sox general manager Roland Hemond threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches on Tuesday. Hemond recently became the second recipient of Baseball Hall of Fame's Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.
Larry Thomas, known as the "Soup Nazi" from the hit sitcom Seinfeld, also threw out the first pitch.
With Tuesday's loss, the White Sox were shut out for the eighth time this year and the third time at home.
White Sox pitchers have a 5.82 ERA during the team's four-game losing streak.