March 7, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel (22) against the Milwaukee Brewers at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Reporters report to Spring Training

The White Sox do not have their pitchers and catchers report until Tuesday, in a great gesture of understanding that alarm clocks can malfunction, flights get missed, and airports on weekends are hell.

Still, a few players will inevitably report early for camp out of a desire to impress their employers, financial pressure to have a good season, or even genuine eagerness for baseball. It’s exciting, in a way

I’ve been trying to rhapsodize about the day of pitchers and catchers reporting for a few years now, and it’s time to admit that my heart is not in it. The baseball season–especially this year, with the World Baseball Classic–whirs to life slowly. This is a stage, and it’s followed by players in uniform running around, then fake baseball that gets increasingly less fake as the Spring wears on, and then finally real baseball, and that’s when all of our life schedules change. If MLB was really the product they hawked from February to the start of April, its critics might have a fairly good point.

But there is one thing that gets going full-bore starting this week.

The beats are on the case! Which, if nothing else, means there will be a steady supply of content and stories to sift through for information. There’s not much more to this baseball blogging thing than that. The early storylines are already getting laid out.

Brent Morel is really trying to make this interesting

Allegedly healthy and fully capable, Brent Morel is making a seemingly doomed bid to get his third base job back from a guy who was handed a three-year contract and has been penciled into the #2 slot in the batting order. Between the September 2011 explosion, the Spring Training back injury and his god-awful 2012 season, it’s hard to pin down exactly what a fully functional Morel is, let along judge if its better than Jeff Keppinger.

Keppinger’s signing simply signalled that the Sox were done putting all of their trust in that Morel would be a full-time third basemen, but the new guy is capable of playing multiple positions otherwise occupied by disappointing Sox prospects, so a resurgence from Morel would be mighty welcome.

John Danks needs to progress through his rehab

This one is obvious, since there’s the whole matter of the next four years and the $57 million that he’s owed. But since the White Sox are justifying their lack of off-season improvements to the offense with a pledge to win games like the Rays do, having a top-end of the rotation that actually performs as well as ‘Sale-Peavy-Danks’ sounds is now what the season is riding on.

You can eliminate Charlie Leesman grabbing the last spot in the bullpen as a long reliever from the list of the Spring Training storylines 

All eyes on Tyler Flowers

Having already been through the ringer of SoxFest, Tyler Flowers will soon begin to display his rather ugly and displeasing method of offensive production for the general public. Flowers could probably swat an .800 OPS and many would still find the switch to his high-strikeout style jarring, but at least Manto has glowing positivity to be bestow upon his off-season work.

“With Flowers, it went great,” Manto said. “Bainsey and I had a chance to spend some time with him to make sure he was aware of his backside. That’s what we’re most concerned with, with his collapsing.

“He did a great job making the adjustments all winter long. Tyler had sent me some video with his workouts and when we got to Chicago we were pleasantly surprised with the progress that he’s made.”

And if the adjustments don’t stick, Tyler Flower’s collapsing backside will be a source of ire throughout the South side, which would be its own fun.

 

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan

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