GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With 14 roster moves made following Monday's 1-0 loss to the Reds, the White Sox reduced their total players in Major League camp to 37. That number breaks down to 16 pitchers, four catchers, 11 infielders and six outfielders.
Most notable among the cuts were outfielders Jared Mitchell and Trayce Thompson, who were reassigned to Minor League camp. A fully healthy Mitchell and Thompson both made a positive impression before departing.
"They're young, but that's what I told them," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of his message to these top prospects. "'You did make an impression,' and they're great, young men.
"I've seen Jared when he was drafted, so I know it's there. I even told him it's one of those things I know it's in there, so go down and work and we'll probably be seeing them in the future."
Right-handed pitchers Anthony Carter, Simon Castro, Jhan Marinez and Deunte Heath, left-handed pitchers Pedro Hernandez, Charlie Leesman and Donnie Veal and infielder Ozzie Martinez were optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. Right-hander Nestor Molina and left-hander Jose Quintana were optioned to Double-A Birmingham, while catcher Michael Blanke and infielder Tyler Kuhn joined Mitchell and Thompson in being reassigned.
The final roster battles appear to include Dylan Axelrod, Zach Stewart, Brian Bruney, Eric Stults and Nate Jones for two relief spots and Eduardo Escobar, Dallas McPherson, Dan Johnson and Jim Gallagher for one position player opening.
Crain eager to return, but not going to rush back
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jesse Crain still doesn't seem worried about his slightly strained right oblique, despite not pitching since being scratched last Wednesday.
And White Sox manager Robin Ventura, taking his cue from head athletic trainer Herm Schneider, remains optimistic about a return in the near future for the right-handed reliever. It's a day-to-day process for Crain, who played catch on Monday, but even in a perfect recovery will fall short of his desired amount of Cactus League appearances to get ready for the season.
"I would like to get at least 10 in," said Crain, who gave up two runs over three innings in three games before suffering the injury. "But depending on how many more I can get, I'm at the point where I can throw some 'pens and throw to some hitters and I think I can be all right.
"We are trying to see how I can get better. I want to get out there obviously as soon as possible, but you know it's how I feel each day coming in whether I can make the next step."
"Hopefully, it will be tomorrow," said Crain of his return. "But I really don't know."
Any sort of prolonged absence for Crain makes it less and less likely that he would open the 2012 season as the White Sox closer. That seemingly leaves the competition between southpaw Matt Thornton and rookie Addison Reed, who threw another scoreless inning in Monday's 1-0 loss to the Reds, with Thornton having the edge.
The main focus for Crain simply is getting healthy and getting back on the mound to break camp with the team, regardless of the role.
"If you're getting four days away from the season opening up, you'd be concerned and take precautions against that and get some other guys," Ventura said. "But I'm still with Herm. If he's still telling me I got nothing to worry about, I have nothing to worry about."
Floyd confident he's getting work done
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Gavin Floyd has thrown in just one 2012 Cactus League game to date, working in an intrasquad game, a "B" game and Sunday's simulated game in his three other trips to the mound. But with 75 pitches over five innings thrown by Floyd on Sunday, getting up and down for each frame, he feels the appropriate work still is getting done.
"I'm seeing hitters. That's the most important thing," Floyd said. "There's a difference, but at the same time, if you can treat it the same as a regular start, that's the ultimate goal. It doesn't really matter where you are at, I guess."
Sale successful by remaining in control
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Some sort of stomach bug might have sapped a little bit of Chris Sale's spirit on Monday, but it was hard to tell anything was amiss in his starting effort against the Reds. The left-hander turned in far and away his best effort of the spring by allowing two hits over six scoreless innings and striking out six.
Sale stayed under control on the mound, which contributed to his success.
"I was out there not trying to throw the nastiest breaking ball I've ever thrown or throwing 100 miles per hour on every pitch," Sale said. "Just trying to make pitches instead of trying to do something I'm not capable of doing. My offspeed stuff is what helped me, throwing it for strikes and behind in the count."
The stellar effort came after Sale had what he described as a horrible bullpen session, but he also received some important words of encouragement from pitching coach Don Cooper.
"He was like, 'Hey listen. This is a process. The greatest pitchers in the game don't become great overnight,'" Sale said of Cooper's message. "'It's a process. Every time you are out there you are getting better. Don't get so frustrated with yourself.'"
Third to first
Jordan Danks hit the game-winning homer to beat the Cubs on Sunday in Mesa, and that blast in this rivalry had meaning even in Cactus League action.
"I grew up a Texas fan, so it was like hitting a home run against the A&M Aggies," said a smiling Danks. "It felt good."
Eduardo Escobar is 8-for-13 over his last five Cactus League games.
Adam Dunn drew his team-leading seventh walk in Monday's 1-0 loss to the Reds.