Morel Aids Chicago Ahead Of Schedule





CHICAGO — Brent Morel is trying not to get too far ahead of himself. But his September audition with the White Sox could lead to a spot on the 2011 team.

Morel, a third baseman from Cal Poly taken in the third round of the 2008 draft, figures to receive strong consideration from the White Sox for a position that rotated between Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel and Dayan Viciedo before Morel arrived in September.

"It's tough to look ahead at next year," said Morel, who hit a combined .322/.359/.480 with 37 doubles and 10 home runs at Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. "I'm really happy to be here right now . . . I'm not worried about next year. I'm just concerned with helping the team right now."

Vizquel, 42, will be eligible for free agency but seems likely to be offered a chance to extend his career. Teahen and Viciedo are under team control through 2012, but it seems like it would be difficult to pass on Morel if he continues to play like he has this season.

"I don't know what kind of hitter (he will be) because it's too early," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "As a third baseman, he has a chance to win the Gold Glove."

The White Sox have been blessed with defensively-skilled third basemen during Guillen's time in Chicago as a player and a manager. "I think it's a little too early to say he will be a Joe Crede-type. He even has a little more range than Joe. I always said Joe was better than Robin (Ventura) and people thought I was crazy . . . This kid has a chance to be one of those two guys."

Morel combines range with a strong arm and solid technique. He moved over to shortstop when Viciedo joined Charlotte in August, and some scouts felt he looked like he might have a future there, as well as third.

"I take pride in my defense," Morel said. "(I try) to help with my hitting, defense, anything."

Morel was hardly overmatched at the plate. He had four extra-base hits (two home runs, two doubles) among his first six big league hits.

CHI-LITES

• Catcher Mike Blanke, a 14th-round pick from Division II Tampa, played well with Rookie-level Great Falls in the Pioneer League to earn an invitation to instructional league.

• Tyler Flowers was among the White Sox's September callups, but he didn't get any starts at catcher until after the club was mathematically eliminated on Sept. 21. Incumbent A.J. Pierzynski is eligible for free agency, but the Sox seem reluctant to plug in Flowers, who hit .220/.334/.434 with 16 homers for Charlotte.