DETROIT -- Brent Morel has allowed himself a chance to heal and not surprisingly he feels the best he has in a while.The White Sox third baseman has been on the disabled list since May 18 with a lumbar back strain. But compared to when he was with the team, and tried to stay in playing shape, which ultimately was detrimental, Morel has taken it easy of late.Now hes ready to return. Morel began a minor-league rehab assignment at Single-A Winston-Salem on Friday night.Its doing really good, Morel said. I just went down to Bristolfor a couple days for like a spring training thing. Just spring training soreness from that, legs and arm,but the back is really strong.Morel is hitting .177 with five RBIs in 113 at-bats this season.The White Sox have since upgraded their offensive production at the hot corner with the addition of Kevin Youkilis last month. Morel said he doesnt envision returning to take Youkilis job. But its also Youkilis presence which has in part freed Morel to take the time to heal. He hopes to return and play a role before the season is over.Theyre not really in a big rush to get me back, Morel said. I was really kind of pushing it to get back. Now Im really trying to make sure 100 percent healthy. Youve got to think the lineups not going to change. I just want to get back healthy.I think taking the actual time it needed and doing it right, really focusing (has helped). Its so hard to sit out when youre watching the guys every day. You want to play. You need to get away (to improve).White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he and his staff havent determined a role for Morel just yet. But thats because they want to make sure hes healthy first.Morel said hes curious as to how his back responds to game action.Get him healthy and go from there, Ventura said. Its a tough thing when youre not healthy trying to do what he was doing or to gut it out. Get him healthy first and well see where that leads.
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