CLEVELAND -- Give Alejandro De Aza credit for staying consistent, and not just at the plate.
Over his last 32 games, De Aza is hitting .350 with 10 doubles, three triples, three homers, 20 RBIs and 21 runs scored, capped off by three straight two-hit, two-RBI games entering Thursday. De Aza has put himself firmly in the 2012 White Sox outfield mix, especially with the team figuring to need a leadoff man due to Juan Pierre's departure through free agency.
But De Aza doesn't want to talk about what might be, and he hasn't since arriving in Chicago.
"I just try to play and try to do my little things day by day. I don't think about next year," De Aza said. "When next year comes, then I will think about it more. Right now, I'm just trying to play the game."
Switching to NL has certain appeal for Buehrle
CLEVELAND -- The 160th victory of Mark Buehrle's illustrious career was achieved Wednesday night at Progressive Field during the left-hander's 46th career start against the Indians.
Buehrle also has made 49 starts each against Kansas City and Minnesota, with 33 coming against the Tigers. He has an 82-58 career record against American League Central opponents, underscoring his overall dominance. But the veteran free-agent-to-be told MLB.com on Thursday that moving to the National League for the final stage of his big league run could be appealing with the lack of opponents' familiarity.
"I've thought about that," Buehrle said. "One, just to see how another organization is run. This is all I've known.
"But yeah, it's one of those things where it would be kind of an interesting challenge to switch leagues and see how the National League is. Plus an extra bonus is you get to hit. Not that it's a good thing, but you will just be a little bit more involved in the game."
With one career homer and a .106 average, Buehrle might not want to base his next signing on the chance to regularly swing a bat. He does have the all-time lead in Interleague wins and Interleague win percentage, and a switch to the NL would allow him to move away from hitters such as the Twins' Michael Cuddyer, who has 104 career at-bats against him.
"With how many pitches you've thrown him, he's seen everything you've got and then some," said Buehrle, using the Cuddyer matchup as an example of AL Central familiarity. "You are trying to trick him and trying to invent stuff and make up stuff to try to get him out.
"You look at that part where you face guys that many times, it seems like the advantage switches over to them. Switching leagues where guys haven't seen you as much, it might favor you."
Ultimately, this free-agent process is a new experience for the 12-year veteran. So it will be learn as they go for Buehrle and his family.
"It's going to be sit back and see what happens," Buehrle said. "I've never been in this spot, so I don't know if we are supposed to make calls or waiting for them kind of thing.
"I'm willing or wanting to play for a couple of more years. Whatever teams are out there, I'll find a suburban place to live that's comfortable for my family and go from there."
Morel flexing his September muscles
CLEVELAND -- Comparisons were drawn between Brent Morel, the current White Sox third baseman, and Joe Crede, arguably the White Sox most valuable player during the entire 2005 World Series title run, before Morel even played his first big league game.
Morel is a slick fielder with the potential to hit for an average in the .280s or .290s, much like the organization staple that was Crede, but Morel didn't seem to have the power possessed by the Silver Slugger winner at third for the White Sox.
That power was lacking until the final month of this 2011 season, when Morel has launched seven of his nine long balls. That long-distance dialing by Morel has surprised manager Ozzie Guillen, but not enough to put him in the same power category with Crede, who finished with 140 career home runs.
"I cannot predict that right now because I was wrong," Guillen said. "I thought this kid was not going to hit for power at all. I thought he was going to [have] two home runs when the season was over. But is he going to have power like Crede? I doubt it.
"Crede was a monster. He had natural power. This kid, he might have a chance to be a better hitter. But I don't think he's going to be a power hitter."
Guillen reiterated Thursday his satisfaction in the offensive development shown by Morel, who won the 2011 starting job based on his defense first.
"This kid came along very well," Guillen said. "I think he's going to be a better hitter [than Crede], just because he can use everything on the field. Crede was more of a pull hitter. But I hope he [hits] in the clutch like Crede was.
"But more power? He's got to lift a lot of weights because Crede [had] stupid power. Right now, it's too early for me to say this kid has to be like [Crede and Robin Ventura]. But he will make the plays. I think he's going to be a better player because he runs better than both."
Third to first
Philip Humber has a 1-5 record and 6.15 ERA over his last 10 starts, including Thursday's effort during the 11-2 loss to the Indians.
The White Sox streak of 37 straight games with an extra-base hit was snapped on Thursday.
The White Sox finished 11-7 this season against the Indians and have a 10-3 record in their last 13 games at Progressive Field.
A.J. Pierzynski needs to catch 37 innings over the team's final six games to reach 1,000 innings caught for a 10th straight season.
Against the American League Central, the White Sox dipped to 31-38.