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Brent Morel’s muscle starting to show

Updated: November 10, 2011 9:46AM

Brent Morel’s recent power surge — a pair of two-homer games in the last week and five homers in September after hitting two before that — comes as no great surprise to White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker.

The Sox believe Morel can be a 20-home run hitter, but they don’t want to pin expectations on him.

‘‘Obviously the kid is strong enough to do it,’’ Walker said. ‘‘He has the bat speed to do it, but that’s not something we want to put pressure on him about. Those things evolve.’’

Morel said the most important thing learned in his first full season is dealing with failure. He can’t explain the recent power ‘‘binge’’ — or doesn’t care to.

‘‘Just swinging at better pitches, I guess, and not missing them when I swing,’’ he said.

Walker has Morel using his lower half better, helping him to not pull off the ball. He walked for the 11th and 12th times Tuesday night in his last 21 games, compared to four walks in his first 90. He’s taking more pitches early in the count, and consequently getting better pitches to hit.

‘‘Not how I drew it up, but I feel like I learned a lot and am a lot better than I was even at the beginning of this year,’’ Morel said. ‘‘I’m more confident in my abilities.’’

Start me up

Rookie Dylan Axelrod, who two years ago was pitching for the Windy City Thunderbolts of the independent Pioneer League, takes Jake Peavy’s place in the rotation when he makes his first big-league start Wednesday. His assignment: the Tigers, one of the hottest-hitting teams in baseball.

‘‘I’m pretty calm and looking forward to the opportunity,’’ said Axelrod, who has two scoreless innings under his belt. ‘‘It’s a great chance to prove something against a team like that. I’m not going to change based on who I’m facing.’’

Falling short

Through Monday’s 73 home dates, Sox attendance ranked 19th in baseball at 1,821,303. With a daily average of 24,949 over their last eight dates, they’re on pace to draw 2,021,179, down from 2,194,378 last season. That’s about 2,419 fans per game below last season.

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