Jesse Crain takes ‘step forward,’ but status remains unclear
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org March 23, 2013 10:02PM
Updated: April 25, 2013 7:31AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jesse Crain tested his right adductor in a minor-league game and was more upbeat afterward than he was following his last outing.
The White Sox likely will wait until Wednesday, the team’s last day in camp, to decide whether he goes with them to Milwaukee for two exhibitions before the opener April 1. It hasn’t been ruled out.
“My leg didn’t act up. I didn’t feel anything,’’ Crain said. “It felt good. I feel like it was a step forward for sure.’’
Crain didn’t allow a run and struck out two. Seventeen of his 20 pitches were strikes. He’ll pitch in a game Monday, and if that goes well, he’ll pitch Wednesday.
Manager Robin Ventura said the cold weather in Chicago won’t be a factor in the decision.
“If he’s healthy, he would be the first one you’d want to go to,’’ Ventura said. “We’re trying to win games. If he’s ready and able, he’s going to be on there.’’
As eager as Crain is to go north with the team, especially after dealing with two oblique issues and a bad shoulder last season, he would understand if he’s held back.
“I’ve been around long enough to know you want to be there for most of the season, you don’t want to push it and jeopardize the rest of the season,’’ he said.
Right fielder Alex Rios was scratched from the game Saturday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers with back stiffness.
“He was lifting, just felt something and the way things are going now it’s better off scratching him now than scratching him in two days,’’ Ventura said.
Adam Dunn has felt good at the plate for some time now. He wishes Opening Day was today.
“I’ve been ready for probably a week,’’ Dunn said. “Just trying not to screw anything up and keep the feeling I’ve had all spring.
“I didn’t time it too good this year. Normally this is how I want to feel on Opening Day. I hope I can keep the feel I have at the plate these last few days.’’
The Sox acquired minor-league infielder Cody Puckett from the Cincinnati Reds for cash considerations. Puckett hit .257 with 77 homers in five seasons in the Reds organization. The Sox also traded minor-league outfielder Justin Green to the Arizona Diamondbacks for cash considerations.
Whatever it takes
Conor Gillaspie, who is a good bet to make the team as a corner infielder, took fly balls in the outfield and could be called on there in a pinch. A former highly touted prospect with the San Francisco Giants who struggled for a while in the minors, Gillaspie said he is willing to do whatever is asked.
“I’ve played outfield like two games in pro ball,’’ he said. “If you want me to go out there I’ll go out there. I’ll warm up a pitcher in the bullpen if I’m asked.’’
Gillaspie admits he was a poor fielder when he was drafted 37th overall out of Wichita State in 2008 and has worked his way into “becoming an average fielder,’’ he said.
He made two good plays in the field against the Athletics on Friday, one charging a slow roller and another going back on a soft liner.
Dodgers 10, WHITE sox 4
The final countdown: Before 13,721 — the largest crowd in Cactus League history — right-hander Jake Peavy (four runs on seven hits) needed 106 pitches to get through five innings. Peavy struck out five and walked one before tiring as four of the last five batters he faced reached on hits, including doubles by Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp. Peavy, who hit 93 mph with the fastball and 87 with the slider, will stay in Arizona an extra day to pitch in a minor-league game Thursday, giving him the five days of rest he likes before his first start April 3 against the Royals. “I couldn’t be happier with how camp went,’’ Peavy said. “I’m super excited about the way the ball is coming out of my hand. I feel like I’m ready to go.’’
BATS SILENCED: Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu held the Sox to two runs and one hit, a double by Tyler Flowers, in seven innings.
ROCKED: Reliever Matt Lindstrom, who hadn’t allowed an earned run all spring, recorded one out while allowing six runs, three walks and three hits in the seventh inning.
On deck: With the AL Central rival Royals coming to Camelback Ranch (3:05 p.m., CSN, 670-AM), the Sox are sticking to their practice of hiding their pitchers from division opponents. That means prospect Erik Johnson will start against the Royals’ Jeremy Guthrie, while likely No. 5 starter Dylan Axelrod will pitch in a minor-league game. Matt Thornton and John Danks, who will open the season on the disabled list as he builds arm strength after shoulder surgery, also will pitch in a minor-league game.
Daryl Van Schouwen