Sox's Morel hopes for speedy return

CHICAGO – Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel said Wednesday his back injury wasn’t as serious as first thought and he hoped to return to the team in the next few weeks.

Morel was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday retroactive to May 18 due to a lumbar back strain. He had his back examined again on Tuesday.

“A little encouraging news (Tuesday) when they looked,” Morel said prior to Wednesday’s game with the Minnesota Twins. “The bulging disc and stuff usually tends to have a lot of radiating pain down the leg, and it’s more hurting if I like try to touch my toes or something. That’s when it kind of comes into play.

“It’s like really good news. They were really happy to find that out. It’s never operated on. It could be controlled really easily in the training room and just like calming it down.”

Morel began feeling back pain during spring training and has been dealing with it ever since. He took a cortisone shot May 10, and his back started hurting again late last week. He is hitting .177 with five RBIs and has a .932 field percentage in 35 games this season.

“The bottom line is I wasn’t helping the team win,” Morel said. “I was trying to play through it, trying to do stuff, but I wasn’t having any result. Now take this time to get it fixed and hopefully it works out better.”

Morel thought he would begin new stretching exercises on Thursday, would start hitting and fielding again in 4-5 days and finally play in a few rehab minor league games before returning to the team.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura, a former third baseman, wasn’t concerned about Morel’s recovery after receiving the latest news on his back.

“I think a lot of it has been blown out of proportion,” Ventura said. “Every third baseman has back problems. I had them. You learn to deal with them and take care of it. I think if it was something that was structural that would be different. What it is now just kind of sounds more like what guys through normally playing third base.”

Morel was pleased to have a manager who understood his situation.

“He’s someone I can talk to,” Morel said of Ventura. “He’s been through it. He had a slow start. He’s had back problems and stuff like that. It’s always nice to have that resource. He kind of knows what I’m going through.”