CHICAGO -- When Brent Morel took himself out of Thursday's Minor League rehab game for Triple-A Charlotte, the back pain he was feeling was not an isolated incident.
"It progressively got worse, kind of every day there," said Morel after Sunday's 11-9 loss for the White Sox to the Astros. "It felt good for a couple of days, and then just got back to where I was not being able to play."
The new plan, according to Morel, is for the third baseman to see a spine specialist on Monday in Chicago and then see another doctor in Los Angeles this weekend. He's not sure what the ensuing program will be, but Morel wants to avoid surgery if at all possible.
"Yeah, I definitely don't want to have surgery," Morel said. "I'm going to do everything I can to not do that and hopefully with some time off I won't have to.
"Obviously I want to play and be out there as fast as I can. But I have to be smart about it and stay away from serious surgery."
Prior to the game, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said that the team is figuring out where to send Morel to get better information, figure out exactly what his back problem is and "probably take care of it." Ventura was then asked what he meant by "take care of it" in relation to Morel.
"If there has to be surgery, just do it," Ventura said. "I think at this point, they've done a lot of things you can do without that. So send him to somebody who can specifically find out what it is."
Morel, 25, has been on the disabled list retroactive to May 18 with a lumbar back strain, but the back issue has plagued him since Spring Training.
"It's just frustrating," Morel said. "I know they're doing everything they can. The guys worked really hard. I guess it's something that needs to be looked at a little more and figure out exactly what's going on and hopefully figure out how to fix it."
Dunn not concerned about batting average
CHICAGO -- When occasionally perusing his statistical line, the least important number to look at for Adam Dunn is his batting average.
"Honestly, I really don't look at batting average," Dunn said. "I know my job is to drive in runs and get on base and things of that nature. I don't care how I get on. I mean, whatever: Walk, hit, I don't care. But it's down at the bottom."
Dunn carries a .226 average into Tuesday's series opener in St. Louis, after going deep in Sunday's 11-9 loss to the Astros. But the White Sox designated hitter also ranked second in baseball with 20 home runs and third in the American League with 46 RBIs. He has a .369 on-base percentage and is tied with Joey Votto for the most walks in the Majors at 48.
Taking his offensive importance one step further, Dunn is No. 1 in the AL at 4.49 pitches viewed per plate appearance, and ranks No. 1 in baseball with 1,164 pitches viewed this season. Those numbers aren't important to Dunn, as much as they represent his norm as a professional.
"Every year I was kind of up there in that," said Dunn of the pitches-viewed category. "It goes back to having my approach that is good and bad. Obviously, you want to get the starter out of there as quick as possible, so the more pitches you can see early in a game, the better."
"He just seems like he's on base all the time," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Dunn. "Everybody wants their average to be up higher, but I don't want him to have his average go up without him having the power. He has good at-bats when he goes up there. He's not a typical three-hole hitter, but for us, he's on base enough to be a three-hole hitter."
Danks hopes to rejoin White Sox in LA
CHICAGO -- For the first four years of John Danks' career, he managed to avoid any sort of injury and reached at least 195 innings pitched in three of those seasons. The 27-year-old hasn't been so fortunate over the last two seasons, sidelined by a strained right oblique in 2011 and currently working his way back from a left shoulder strain.
Danks is scheduled to pitch four innings on Tuesday for Triple-A Charlotte during an afternoon contest in Columbus, and then hopes to rejoin the White Sox rotation next weekend in Los Angeles. He's also ready to avoid any sort of injury issues for the rest of the season, and, really, the remainder of his career.
"The disabled list [stinks]," said Danks with a laugh before going to throw on Sunday. "I don't ever want to be on the DL again. I said that last year.
"It feels like you are letting a lot of people down when you go on the DL. There's nothing I could have done different, I don't think. But the team shows some confidence in you, and I haven't pitched to my standards that I would like to pitch.
"I felt like I was finally turning that corner. I don't know, maybe it's a blessing in disguise," said Danks, who has a 5.70 ERA but threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Cubs in his last start on May 19 at Wrigley Field. "Maybe I needed the break, and I'll be strong for the rest of the year."
White Sox could have multiple All-Stars
CHICAGO -- White Sox players such as Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn and Alejandro De Aza all could receive All-Star consideration for the Midsummer Classic to be played on July 10 in Kansas City.
Sale's case could be the most interesting, in that the American League leader in ERA could be named as the starting pitcher. That start would come in the middle of a planned extended break given to the first-year starter, but that interruption doesn't seem to worry manager Robin Ventura.
"He won't go nine. I know that," said Ventura with a smile. "He'll definitely be on a pitch limit for the All-Star Game. But he deserves it. That's just part of playing the game.
"Other guys have done it. We'll figure out a way. I think it's good for him and it's good for people to see him pitch. It's good for our organization if he gets that. So we'll figure it out."
Ventura played in two All-Star Games and called it a fun game that guys enjoy. Don't look for Dunn and his 19 homers to take part in the Home Run Derby, regardless of whether he is selected as an All-Star, as the big slugger said on Sunday he has no interest in the competition.
But Sale's move from starter to closer to White Sox stopper to potential AL All-Star starter in the matter of two months would be another interesting story.
"Baseball is just crazy in that way. You never know what's going to happen," Ventura said. "It's fun to see how it all folds out at the end of the year. Anything you think at the beginning of the year might not even be close at the end of the year."
Third to first
Robin Ventura said that Adam Dunn will be in left field for all three Interleague games in St. Louis, with Dayan Viciedo moving to the bench. Viciedo should return on Friday against Dodgers' southpaw Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles.
Ventura showed off his dry wit Sunday when asked where dealing with the media ranks in terms of the challenges during his first two months as White Sox manager.
"It's not my favorite part by any means," a smiling Ventura said. "But it's not the worst part, either. So you can take that."
The instant replay of Justin Maxwell's fifth-inning homer during Houston's 11-9 victory was the 10th replay involving the White Sox since the rule was instituted in 2008 and the fourth replay at U.S. Cellular Field.