By Paul LaTour
With the temperatures soaring into the 90s, not many of the White Sox players took to the field prior to todays series finale against Cleveland at U.S. Cellular Field.
But one of those who did was Brent Morel.
Morel took some infield practice as he continues to recover from the lower back strain that put him on the disabled list.
Im just getting my feet back underneath me, getting my arm back in shape, Morel said. I feel ready to go.
After taking five days to rest, Morel has taken infield practice the past two days and took batting practice in the cage this morning. He said his back is progressing well.
It feels way better, so hopefully it continues to feel like this, Morel said, adding he expects to begin a rehabilitation assignment Wednesday, most likely in Charlotte, home of Chicagos Triple-A affiliate.
Morel was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 18, making him eligible to rejoin the Sox next weekend for the Seattle series.
Its no guarantee hell be plugged back into his starting position at third base. Veteran Orlando Hudson has played well at the position in Morels absence.
Hudson is hitting .231 with one RBI in five games. Hell make his fifth straight start at third base today. Hes also been error free in adjusting to a position hes never played at in his major-league career.
Rick Hahn began his briefing to the media on Monday with two announcements: First, left-hander Carlos Rodon will make his season debut Wednesday against the New York Yankees.
And right-hander Zach Putnam underwent Tommy John surgery last week and will miss the remainder of the season.
The 29-year-old Putnam was placed on the 10-day disabled list April 25 with right elbow inflammation, but his elbow issues began before that. Last June, Putnam landed on the disabled list with ulnar neuritis in his right elbow and later had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow in August (Putnam was first diagnosed with a bone spur in his elbow in 2013 while with the Chicago Cubs).
“When they removed the chips, the ligament was not in great shape but Zach and his doctors thought it was worthwhile for him to try to fight back and pitch through it, which obviously he was able to do for a short period of time but ultimately the ligament gave out,” Hahn said. “Zach deserves a world of credit for doing everything he could the last two years to fight his way back to contribute in the bullpen. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for him.”
Putnam’s Tommy John surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews and carries a 12-18 month recovery process, which on the more extreme end could rule him out for the entire 2018 season, too.
This latest setback is another tough break for Putnam, who was outstanding in limited action over the last two seasons, posting a 2.00 ERA with 39 strikeouts, 12 walks and two home runs allowed in 36 innings out of the White Sox bullpen.
As for Rodon, Hahn wouldn’t tip his hand as to what move will be made to return the 2014 first-round pick to the major league roster. Rodon threw at least 90 pitches in his last three minor league rehab starts and worked in extended spring training before that, so he won’t face any restrictions when he takes the mound against the Yankees on Wednesday.
“He’s starting his season now,” Hahn said. “He had to alter his training regimen and get himself back on track and we have him out there without restrictions with the same expectations we had for him at the end of last season. He continues to be an important part of our future.”
Major League Baseball released the latest American League All-Star voting update Monday and Avisail Garcia has jumped back into fifth place among outfielders.
The White Sox right fielder jumped past Boston's Mookie Betts since the last returns were announced on June 13.
Since then Garcia has slashed .319/.447/.819 with a homer, 5 RBIs and three doubles in 12 games.
Aaron Judge, Mike Trout and George Springer remain the top vote-getters in the outfield, though Trout won't play in the Midsumemr Classic because of a thumb injury.
On the year Garcia is batting .331 with a .904 OPS, 11 homers and 51 RBIs; the RBIs are the same number Garcia had all of last year.
Garcia is the only White sox player among the top AL vote-getters at any position.
Voting ends June 30.