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.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.