The Chicago White Sox have two opening day starters who are looking ready to come off the disabled list this weekend. My advice to the club: don't be so quick to get them back in the lineup.
While Brent Morel and John Danks both appear to be nearing a return date with the White Sox, it isn't exactly urgent to rush either player back on the field. The way Chicago has performed over the last two weeks, management can afford to exercise some patience.
In the absence of the two players, Chicago has reeled off a nine-game winning streak. Leapfrogging over Detroit and Cleveland, the White Sox now sit in first place in the AL Central by a game-and-a-half after besting Seattle 7-4 Friday night.
As Crash Davis said in Bull Durham, don't, er, mess with a winning streak.
I'm not saying that Morel and Danks aren't going to be important pieces in the remainder of the 2012 season. I'm not suggesting that the players avoid cracks in the clubhouse floor from now until October (though it couldn't hurt the .177 hitting Morel).
What Chicago's run of great baseball has done is given them the luxury of giving two injured players some additional recovery time. It won't kill the White Sox to use it.
Morel had been hampered with back issues before hitting the 15-day DL retroactive to May 18. In his absence, Orlando Hudson hasn't set the American League on fire with his bat, but he's contributed since being signed by he White Sox and started all nine of Chicago's wins during the current streak.
Morel has been in Charlotte this week, where he has made three rehab starts. He is eligible to come off the DL Saturday. Despite going 5-for-12 with the Knights, it wouldn't be a bad idea to finish the series with the Mariners with Hudson at third.
With a day off Monday before Toronto comes to town, Morel could return to the lineup Tuesday with some extra healing time. I firmly believe that Morel should get most of this month to prove he's the starter. However, if it could help prevent a nagging injury, it can't hurt to bring Morel back cautiously.
According to Scott Merkin of MLB.com, Danks threw 20 pitches Friday with no recurrence of the shoulder pain that has kept him out of the rotation following his May 19 win over Minnesota. On Sunday, Danks plans on another side session in which he will throw his full compliment of pitches.
Danks is set to come off the DL on Monday and there is an excellent reason to not use him immediately. Monday is that off day I mentioned earlier. Besides, Danks' turn in the rotation isn't until Wednesday.
Jose Quintana has thrown well in two starts with the White Sox. Giving him one last start in place of Danks wouldn't hurt if there is any doubt after Sunday's test.
In the case of both Morel and Danks, a little extra rest is a much better option than return visits to the DL throughout the season. With the White Sox riding the wave of a winning streak, sitting out this weekend's action wouldn't be a terrible idea.
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