Despite a shaky defensive performance by Orlando Hudson on Thursday, White Sox manager Robin Ventura remains confident the team does not need help at third base.
Hudson, a former Gold Glove second baseman, joined the Sox on May 22 after regular third baseman Brent Morel was placed on the 15-day disabled list. But Morel pulled himself out of a rehabilitation assignment game Thursday, further delaying his return to the Sox.
That leaves Hudson as the No. 1 choice for Ventura at third. Utility players Eduardo Escobar and Brent Lillibridge are capable of also seeing time there.
Well be able to make a go with them doing that. Im comfortable with that, Ventura said Friday prior to Chicagos interleague series opener against Houston at U.S. Cellular Field.
Hudson will make his 14th start at third tonight, one game after having one of his worst performances at the position in Thursdays 4-3 victory over Toronto. He wasnt charged with any errors, but misplayed three balls.
The most damaging was in the second inning when a ball got past him with the bases loaded, which scored two runs as the Blue Jays took an early lead.
Hudson has committed three errors and has a .923 fielding percentage in 15 games with the Sox. He admitted the transition to third isnt going as well as hed hoped.
Man, Im scuffling. Im scuffling, Hudson said. Our manager is one of the best third basemen to play the game, so hes trying to ease me a little bit to get me out of my own head defensively. But other than that, Im just trying to catch it and get it over to first base. It has been a struggle. It hasnt been pretty lately, but hopefully it will get a little better soon.
The Sox are hoping so, too. Getting Morel back will help. But the position still isnt an area of strength for a team that inserted itself into the AL Central race, and plans to remain in it all season.
Ventura said Hudson should improve due to the experience hes gained already. Even when hes made mistakes.
There are different things happening that hes not used to, Ventura said. Its a learning process. You try to bring him up to speed as fast as you can, but you can only teach so much. Some of it has to be the experience of being out there doing it. Hes had some interesting things happen already, so that should speed up the process.
Morels return to the Sox doesnt appear imminent. Thursday night with Triple-A Charlotte, Morel pulled himself out during a game at Toledo. It's unclear if it was related to the lumbar back strain that put him on the DL.
Theres something else going on there. Its a setback, Ventura said.
Morel was expected back in Chicago today to be examined by Sox medical personnel. He had yet to arrive prior to the end of player pregame media availability.