The Chicago White Sox third base job was Brent Morel‘s to lose at the start of last season.
With a brutal a .177/.225/.195 triple-slash over his first 35 games, he was already on his way to doing just that before getting hurting his back in May. Then the White Sox brought in Kevin Youkilis, and there just wasn’t any reason why the team would play Morel by the time he healed up in the summer.
Youk is no longer in southside Chicago these days, but the White Sox aren’t ready to repeat the Brent Morel experiment at third base in 2013 – at least not right away. They added utility man Jeff Keppinger to be the team’s third baseman, and to cover Gordon Beckham at second base, should he falter as well.
So, it goes without saying that Morel is going to have a difficult time finding himself regular playing time in 2013 – as long as he stays at third, anyway.
That might change, however, as the 25-year old was in unfamiliar territory in Thursday’s White Sox spring game, taking the field as a shortstop halfway through a contest against the Milwaukee Brewers.
It’s a position he hasn’t played since he was in the minors in 2010, and even then, he’d only had a 17 games of experience then. He got a total of four innings there on Thursday, but unfortunately did not get to test his glove on any play.
Morel is not off to a great start in spring thus far despite having appeared in every single game for the White Sox, with just three singles to count for it through 12 at-bats.
To turn it around, he’ll first need more opportunities, and the 25-year old is hoping that having the ability to move around the field will get him regular at-bats over the next month. A hot streak then might be enough to remind the team why they gave him a regular gig at third base in 2012 to begin with.
It’ll seem like a long time now, but back then, before the .420 OPS, Morel was considering a popular breakout candidate for the White Sox in last season. Eight homers and a .893 OPS over 27 games in September of 2011 earned him that goodwill then, and even though it’s all but squandered now, he’ll need opportunity to try to get it back against Keppinger.
If Morel going to be a risk of losing his job to a utility man, perhaps he could fight his way back by becoming one.