Asked today about Brent Morel’s continued presence in the No. 2 spot in the order despite a .103/.161/.138 line to date, White Sox manager Robin Ventura replied:
He’s going to stay there. He just needs to be a little more aggressive in the zone and things will turn around.
So, Morel, who has walked twice and struck out 13 times in 29 at-bats this season, just needs to be more aggressive. Never mind that he’s racking up swinging strikes at 170 percent of the major league average thus far or that he is now sporting a lifetime .278 on-base percentage in 507 major league at-bats.
Actually, what the White Sox apparently really need is for Morel to bunt more. The lone major leaguer with three sacrifices on the season, he’s reached on an error on two of those plays.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.