The bulging disc in Brent Morel's back won't require surgery, putting him on much more of a week-to-week timeline in his recovery rather than month-to-month. Since Robin Ventura is steadfast that Morel won't lose his job due to injury, Orlando Hudson should be sure to keep sharp at all infield positions.
However, the description of Morel's condition doesn't portray a scenario where he'll be all better in a few weeks, it's more that the inflammation will soon be to a degree where it can be controlled.
"A physical exam on Tuesday showed the issue to be centered more on the facet joint around the disc, according to Morel, which he explained as sort of like the knuckle. So after it calms down, the problem is something the White Sox trainers and Morel can stay on top of easier than imagined."
Joe Cowley--as can be his tendency--doesn't entirely buy-in to the rosy prognosis, and jumps on the offered explanations of 'it's just something 3rd basemen go through' as a reason to draw comparisons to the problems that derailed Joe Crede's career. Cowley's article also included the detail that Morel has had problems keeping his weight on this year, has recently come to grips with needing to maintain a gluten-free diet, and only now has brought his weight back up to within five pounds of what he entered Spring Training at.
Between his performance, the back injury, and whatever events led to Morel discovering he has a wheat sensitivity, it doesn't sound like he's been having a whole lot of fun.
In the mean time...
Hudson sparkled in his debut at 3rd base Wednesday night. He singled to right field, had an RBI groundout, and made two sparkling athletic plays in the field that displayed a strong throwing arm. He channeled his manager's spirit by charging and bare-handing a dribbled down the line in the 2nd, and made a beautiful field-and pivot-throw on a grounder in the hole in the 5th.
Neither play showed Hudson adjusting to the speed of the hot corner, but he certainly proved to be more nimble than Dan Johnson or Dallas McPherson would have been.
Reed is official
Ventura came out and officially named Addison Reed the closer Wednesday, seemingly for no other reason than that he felt the rookie deserved the assurance such a guaranteed role brings.
Unless Robin shows himself to be too handicapped by Reed's title to use him outside the 9th, or go for a lefty-lefty matchup when the situation calls for it, it's hard to think of a negative for rewarding Addison, who puts a lot of stock in owning this role.
Alexei acknowledges his struggles
Mark Gonzales' article on Alexei Ramirez has fun elements, like Alexei acknowledging both that he usually waits till May to start hitting, and that the strategy around the league is to bust him inside, but the overall tone is hopeless. He is hitting .200/.227/.253, after all
Said strategy against Ramirez is enormously effective, and he's shown no signs of halting the decline of his performance against fastballs. Someone throw this man a few hanging sliders, please.
Kevin Goldstein has an in-depth look at the new draft rules behind a pay wall at Baseball Prospectus or ESPN Insider, and he talks to both MLB executives and super-agent Scott Boras on their opinions of the new CBA.
Most have suggested that the market will create it's own flexibility, and that the stricter spending rules will result in more side deals--promises for future compensation, accelerated promotion, etc.
While the new rules were meant to reduce the instances of players dropping due to signability issues, executives as well as Boras both think that they could actually increase, as teams will very quickly write off players with exorbitant demands due the penalties involved with going over slot, and the decreased amount of time to negotiate.
Boras himself proposes the spending allotment for drafts to be pooled over five years, so that teams can spend less money on underwhelming drafts like this upcoming one.