By Chris Rongey
MARYVALE, AZ–Tomorrow could mark a fairly significant day for the White Sox as they get closer to April first and the opener in Cleveland.
Until now, the main story line throughout camp has, undoubtedly, been the health of Jake Peavy, his recovery from the lat injury, and the prospect of him being bale to start the season. Peavy, by the way, scheduled to pitch on Saturday is still hopeful to be able to go despite battling the flu (he’s taken treatment the last couple of days). never really s
But, tomorrow, the focus may shift to some of the few position battles the Sox have had this spring. That focus will shift for at least a day or two, anyway. Ozzie Guillen today saying the Sox have scheduled a meeting for noon tomorrow in which some clearer roles may be defined.
Of the most important, is the competition at third that never really seemed to be an actual competition until recently. In my opinion, Brent Morel has been the favorite since last September, and is still the favorite for the majority of games at third. However, Mark Teahen’s bat has made them take a longer look. Hitting .529 coming into today’s game, Teahen has shown them how nice another productive left-handed bat might look in this lineup.
However, it is only spring, after all. And gaudy spring numbers are not unprecedented (Remember Mark Kotsay’s 2010 spring) and rarely have much to do with what a player will do between April and September. The lesson is that it just simply can’t be counted on that Teahen will continue to rake once the season begins.
Oh, but what if he does?
It’s possible he could have a breakout offensive year if he remains healthy, and some of those line drives in Kansas City that might leave the yard in Chicago would look terrific in this lineup. At 29 years old, a dramatic spike in production is possible, though I don’t know how likely it is.
Which leads me to the conclusion that Morel, at this point, may be what’s best for the Sox in 2011. This is provided, of course, that he continues to play solid defense and brings a respectable bat to the regular season. It doesn’t even have to be good with the group that will surround him. The steady glove may be the most important thing for this team in this situation.
As for the closer on this year’s team, it’s becoming more apparent that Matt Thornton may get the official title, though I believe he may not be the only one asked to finish out games. Both he and Chris Sale have had experience doing it, and both probably could to it for extended periods of time, but I think the veteran may win out here. Especially considering pitching coach Don Cooper is still working on some aspects of Sale’s game.
At this point, Thornton looks to me the more polished choice.