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posted: 5/20/2012 11:23 AM

Rongey: Let's play six and not change this series

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  • The back pain has been too much to bear for White


Q. Do you like the White Sox-Cubs series? Think six games is right amount, too many or too few?

A. I think six games is just about right. A series in each park per year really isn't an inconvenience, though I know some people see it as such. In fact, I think any more would be too many, and any less would be too few.

While to some it may have less meaning than it has in years past, I think there are few mid-season series that are more intense than a Sox-Cubs set when one team (or both) is having a good year.

I've heard discussion about the possibility of holding just one series per year, and alternating the location on a season-to-season basis. For me, I'd prefer to keep it as it is. For six times a year, all of Chicago's baseball focus is on one field. I like that.

Q. What is your concern level with Brent Morel and his sore lower back?

A. It's significant, but only because I know the back can be a touchy thing. Sox fans need not look any further than Joe Crede to see what I mean. While not all bulging discs heal in the same amount of time or are a chronic issue, my hope is that it isn't something that lingers. I wouldn't be surprised if it takes a few months for him to fully recover.

You don't need a doctor to tell you that a healthy back is vital to being able to hit major league pitching. I can't think of a single player that was capable of success while having significant back pain.

Morel said that, for the first month of the season (and going back to spring), he couldn't rotate on the swing. Well, if you can't do that, you can't hit. It's that simple. I truly think that his back, and not his level of talent, has been the reason for his struggles this season.

As of last week, Morel was told that surgery wouldn't be necessary, but that could always change, especially if it isn't improving. For Crede, it became a matter of multiple surgeries. If Morel can avoid that path, he should be all right.

Q. Do you expect Dayan Viciedo to stay hot?

A. This hot? Probably not. He's not going to be a .400 hitter, but we may be seeing his breakout.

Because of the nature of his aggressive approach, I'd figure he'll go through streaks throughout the season. There are going to be times where he rakes, and there are probably going to be times where he'll have trouble making contact. But when he's raking, look out.

Q. What does Jesse Crain's return mean to the bullpen?

A. It's crucial to have both their top setup men healthy and available because it takes pressure off everyone else.

Ventura and Cooper will be less likely to employ other relievers in less-than-ideal situations if they have the comfort of Crain-Thornton-Closer (Reed) for innings 7-8-9.

With those innings primarily taken care of, it means the Sox have more situational options. It also means fewer appearances for the other late-inning pitchers, and ideally, a fresher bullpen.

• 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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