White Sox

No surgery for Morel; Hudson gets the start at third

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No surgery for Morel; Hudson gets the start at third

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com contributor

Third baseman Brent Morel received some good news Tuesday -- he does not need surgery. Time is all that is needed for Morels ailing lower back that forced the White Sox to place him on the 15-day disabled list.

The lumbar strain injury was originally believed to be a disk issue, which would have required surgery and a much longer stay on the DL.

This is really good news, Morel said prior to Wednesdays game against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. This injury is never operated on, and can be controlled really easily in the training room. Its nothing long term, which is nice.

Morel, who hasnt played since May 17, had an MRI done May 10 that showed a bulging disk. But Morel said doctors reviewed the MRI when he wasnt responding to the treatment for the disk, and discovered that wasnt the problem.

The injury has nagged Morel since spring training, but he would not blame it for his poor start to the season. He is hitting .177 in 35 games with only five RBI and two extra-base hits (both doubles).

Im not going to say its affected me too much, Morel said. When Im in there I feel like I can play. I dont know how much correlation this has had.

After a few days of trying new exercises that will target strengthening the lower back, Morel said hell get back to hitting and go from there regarding his return to the lineup.

In the meantime, Orlando Hudson appears to be the choice to replace him at third. Hudson joined the Sox on Tuesday, and made a late-inning appearance in a 9-2 loss to the Twins, his former team.

Hudson is making his first career start at third in tonights game.

I have to make sure I catch the ball, and keep the pitcher on the mound, Hudson said. I dont want to be out there booting balls and throwing balls away. I want to keep the ball in front of me and make the play.

Hudson had an incident-free debut Tuesday. He entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning, and later hit a single and scored Chicagos second run. He only fielded one ball, throwing out Jamey Carroll at first.

Part of that was to get him out there and get his feet wet, said manager Robin Ventura, who sported a Chicago Police Department cap as he addressed reporters before the game. The White Sox are honoring the CPD tonight for the work they did during the NATO meetings. (Hudson) looks fine over there. He came in and had an aggressive at-bat. Thats part of bringing a guy in. He wants to prove himself, and hes going to get that shot.

Despite his vast experience at third, Ventura said he doesnt plan to offer hands-on advice to Hudson on any of the intricacies of the position.

Im too old to go over there and tutor anybody, Ventura said, laughing.

As for Morel, Ventura, a former third baseman himself, said the injury isnt something to worry about too much.

Every third baseman has back problems, Ventura said. I had them. You learn to deal with them and take care of it. If it was something structural, that would be different.

Is Luis Robert so good that he'll start the season at Double-A?

Is Luis Robert so good that he'll start the season at Double-A?

Just how good is Luis Robert?

Well, that's the problem. Us on the outside, we don't know exactly.

The White Sox obviously love him, willing to give him big bucks to come play a starring role in the rebuild. Rick Renteria raved about Robert last month at the Winter Meetings, getting White Sox fans all excited by hyping Robert's speed, fielding skills and power.

But as good as the scouting reports sound, is Robert really so good that he'll go from never playing a game in the United States to the higher levels of minor league baseball right away?

That eyebrow-raising possibility was floated Tuesday.

Robert unsurprisingly has plenty of confidence in his own abilities and told The Athletic's James Fegan at the team's hitters' camp in Arizona that his goal is to make it to the big leagues sometime in 2018.

But perhaps the more interesting comment came from Chris Getz, the White Sox director of player development, who said Tuesday that Robert could potentially start the season at either of the White Sox two Class A affiliates, Kannapolis or Winston-Salem, or even at Double-A Birmingham.

Robert is just 20 years old, and he's yet to play a game of minor league baseball in the United States after spending his teenage years playing in Cuba. In fact, his only action since joining the White Sox has been 28 games in the Dominican Summer League. He did fare quite well in that handful of contests, slashing .310/.491/.536 with three homers, 14 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and a sparkling 22-to-23 walk-to-strikeout ratio. But that's not really the point.

The White Sox are in no rush with Robert, or any of their highly touted prospects, for that matter. Not expected to compete for a championship in 2018, there doesn't appear to be any reason to elevate Robert to the highest levels of the minors so quickly without first getting him some experience in the lower levels.

Of course, Getz even mentioning the possibility of Robert starting the season at Birmingham should also show just how good the team thinks Robert is right now. So maybe Robert's major league dream for 2018 isn't as crazy as it sounds?

Meet the Prospects: Luis Alexander Basabe

Meet the Prospects: Luis Alexander Basabe

The White Sox rebuild is in full swing. While it might still be a year or two before the big league team is expected to start competing for championships, the minor leagues are stocked with highly touted talent fans will be eagerly following in 2018. With that in mind, it's time to Meet the Prospects and get to know the future of the South Side.

Luis Alexander Basabe

Basabe, the 21-year-old outfielder, flew under the radar in the trade that sent Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox.

A native of Venezuela, Basabe was overshadowed by Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech in that deal with the Red Sox, but he's a promising piece of the future, as well.

A year before joining the White Sox organization, Basabe slashed .264/.328/.452 with 66 runs scored, 53 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in 110 games with Boston's two Class A affiliates in Greenville and Salem.

Last season with Class A Winston-Salem, VBasabe played in 107 games, slashing .221/.320/.320 with 52 runs scored, 36 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.

As of their most recent rankings, MLB Pipeline had Basabe rated as the No. 17 prospect in the White Sox organization.

Get to know Basabe in the video above.