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Morneau doesn’t crack White Sox lineup — for now

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Justin Morneau was a major leaguer again Friday, but the former MVP and four-time All-Star was not in manager Robin Ventura’s lineup against left-hander Hector Santiago.

Avisail Garcia got the nod in his familiar spot as the Sox designated hitter, although the left-handed hitting Morneau figures to get most of the DH starts against right-handers. And the way Ventura talked before Friday’s game, Morneau, a first baseman by trade who will get his share of at-bats against lefties as well.

“Right now probably just righties and then once he’s in there — and whether you pinch hit for him — if he starts a game against a righty and they put a lefty in there he’s probably going to stay in there,’’ Ventura said. “But I don’t see it being a platoon as far as you’re always going to platoon. But we’ll see how it goes, we’ll see how he feels. He’s ready to go right now.’’

Morneau has a .297 career batting average and .893 career OPS against righties compared to .253 and .708 against lefties.

“There will probably be some extra adrenaline the first time you get in the batter’s box,’’ said Morneau, who had surgery on his left elbow in Decenber. “I always say the most nervous I am all year is the first at-bat I have in spring training. The first game at Triple-A I had a lot of adrenaline going, a lot more than I thought I was going to have and I’m sure I’ll have a little more of that when I walk in the first time here.

“It was exciting, but now is just the beginning. Getting back here was difficult and now it’s the beginning of hopefully the good stuff.’’

Morneau and the Sox wasted no time getting him on the te, am.

“You can only do so much on a minor league assignment and you have to get in a box and face big league pitchers to finish off that element of the rehab,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said Friday. “But so far he feels great, feels he has accomplished everything he can in the minors in terms of the timing element. He’s ready to progress against big-league pitching.’’

The rotation

Chris Sale will start Monday’s series opener at the Seattle Mariners, followed by Jose Quintana Tuesday. That gives Sale nine days rest not counting his nine-pitch outing in the All-Star Game Tuesday. Quintana, who pitched an inning in the All-Star Game, will also have nine days as the Sox freshen up their top two starters.

With Carlos Rodon on the disabled list, Sunday’s starter hasn’t been announced, although AAA right-hander Jacob Turner seems to be a good bet.

On the mend

Rodon, on the DL list with a sprained left wrist, received treatment over the All-Star break and will play catch Saturday. How he responds will determine “a plan for getting him back in the rotation,’’ Hahn said.

“It’s certainly possible he will need a rehab start but we will know more in the next three or four days,’’ Hahn said.

*Zach Putnam will test his right elbow and throw off the mound Saturday. Putnam is hoping to avoid surgery.

*Closer David Robertson, who was unavailable last Saturday and Sunday because of an upper leg strain, was back to 100 percent, he said.

*Catcher Alex Avila, who went on the 15-day DL with a hamstring strain July 6, took batting practice Friday and seems to be progressing well, Ventura said.