Brent Morel gets White Sox nod at 3rd
I expect a lot more from Morel ... a lot more. I think Morel is a way better player than Brian [Anderson]. With all my respect, Morel can do a lot of stuff.” -- Ozzie Guillen
"Of course [Morel] will make the team, and I think he's going to play every day at third base," Guillen said before Thursday's game against the Chicago Cubs.
Morel, on the other hand, seemed to be the only one out of the loop on the news.
"I haven't heard it from [Guillen], so we'll wait and see," Morel said immediately after going 2-for-4 against the Cubs to raise his spring average to .286.
Morel had been in an extended battle for the position with Mark Teahen, but essentially won the job based on his ability on defense.
"I haven't talked to Teahen directly, but I kind of mentioned to him a few days ago that we're going to start playing him in the outfield," Guillen said before the game. "Teahen is going to be here for his offense. Moving around to different [positions] is hard on anyone, and he has to understand every time we play him somewhere we don't expect him to be a Gold Glove, we expect him to do the best he can."
Teahen still figures to get plenty of chances to play third base against right-handed pitchers and will also see time at first base, in right field and at designated hitter, although Guillen wouldn't guarantee how much playing time he would get.
Morel first impressed the major league coaching staff as a September call-up last season. He batted just .231 in 21 games, but hit three home runs with seven RBIs and played solid defense. Morel was batting .269 this spring heading into Thursday's game against the Cubs, while Teahen was batting .333.
Already being compared to former White Sox third baseman Joe Crede, Morel is probably further along on defense than Crede was at this point in his career. Crede was highly touted for his offense.
While Morel will play on Opening Day at Cleveland on April 1, Teahen won't have to wait long to see his first action at third base.
"[Teahen] will be playing in Cleveland early to help Mo; I have to protect Mo from some pitchers," Guillen said. "But in the meanwhile, I don't want Teahen to face the tough one. They did it to me. I don't think that's fair for the players. Obviously he's going to face tough ones, but I'm going to give him pitchers he can handle. It's not fair to play Mo against the normal ones and the big boys come up and Teahen is in the lineup."
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Having Morel in the lineup for his defense while being asked to develop at the plate sounds similar to the situation in 2006 when Brian Anderson was the Opening Day center fielder. But Guillen is hesitant to make that comparison.
"I expect a lot more from Morel ... a lot more," Guillen said. "I think Morel is a way better player than Brian. With all my respect, Morel can do a lot of stuff. I think Morel since he got here, he impressed a lot of people. It's another thing, he's a kid. We have to be patient with him. We have to make sure we protect him. But that's a different type of animal."
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
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