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posted: 5/6/2012 4:32 PM

Rongey: Sale's switch, De Aza's play surprise

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  • The play of White Sox center fielder Alejandro De Aza has been a pleasant surprise this season, according to Chris Rongey.

    The play of White Sox center fielder Alejandro De Aza has been a pleasant surprise this season, according to Chris Rongey.
    Associated Press


Chris Sale to the bullpen, huh?

Didn't see that coming, but then again, it's difficult to know just exactly when his body would dictate that. The reaction, so far, has been of extreme confusion. That's understandable because it was my initial thought as well and I have to admit I'm still curious.

I've heard it suggested that the move is a precursor to a possible trade (teams have interest in White Sox relief pitching). Though that could happen, I don't see any way the Sox make that decision because they intend to make a transaction. If the team is going to plug a hole in the bullpen, they're not going to do it with Chris Sale.

Even though it's from the beginning of the year, the Sox have been intent on doing whatever they could to protect Sale from injury. The only logical explanation is that they have indication that makes them think his body just isn't cut out for starting. It appears the first month of the season has shown them just that.

Whether it's the right course for him I don't know, but I don't think the decision was made without diligence. Clearly, there's something they're seeing in him that we are not.

Q. What White Sox player was the biggest surprise in April?

A. I'll give you two: Jake Peavy and Alejandro De Aza.

I'm not surprised Peavy's doing well as I always believed he'd be good if he were healthy. What I didn't foresee was an April performance better than anyone else's in the AL. I thought there might be a period of settling for him, but I expected it to take longer than the first four innings of his first start. While I don't expect him to be this good for the entire season, if he's healthy he'll be just fine this year.

De Aza was good with the short opportunity he was given last year, so I wasn't sure what to expect when the starting job was given to him this. So far, I'm pleased. Only two other leadoff hitters in the AL (with around 100 at-bats) have a higher OPS: Derek Jeter and Austin Jackson.

Q. What White Sox player was the biggest disappointment in April?

A. The lack of production from Brent Morel has been, simply because I thought he did enough last season to indicate this would be a year for progression for him. There's still time for him to figure it out, but I'd love to see some offense to go along with the terrific defense. I don't think it's time to give up on him just yet.

Q. Has the AL Central already been reduced to a three-team race?

A. Well, I don't think Minnesota or Kansas City have a real shot in this division. The Twins just look awful right now and the Royals are still not where they need to be despite very good young talent.

Ultimately, I don't think the Indians will be there in the end but I do think they'll make it difficult for everyone else. We know the Tigers are good, so they'll probably be there. The White Sox just may be, but they need to find some consistency in all areas. They haven't gotten that yet.

• Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at Subscriber Total Access members can email him questions each week via our online link.

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