GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There was good news to report from White Sox reliever Jesse Crain, whose Wednesday throwing session was considered a step forward in his battle with a slightly strained right oblique.
Crain played catch and then threw 20 pitches in front of the mound and 10-12 pitches on the mound. He hopes to be throwing a hard bullpen session Friday and then get back into Cactus League action if all goes well.
"I didn't go 100 percent. I got off the mound and I was throwing strikes, throwing all my pitches," said Crain, who was scratched last Wednesday from a potential relief appearance and has not pitched since. "You know, it was a big step forward, especially coming from where it felt the last couple of days. I think it's something that day by day it will get better."
Manager Robin Ventura has expressed little worry with Crain's injury, saying White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider has given him little reason to worry. General manager Ken Williams has the same feeling that Crain will be ready for the start of the regular season.
"We've got two weeks left," said Williams with a smile.
Dunn sees first action in outfield
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It didn't take long for Adam Dunn to get tested during his first Cactus League outfield appearance against the Mariners during Wednesday's 13-8 White Sox victory in Peoria.
Not long, as in Seattle leadoff hitter Chone Figgins.
But Dunn made the play in foul ground and otherwise had an uneventful day in left field. The White Sox slugger was scheduled to play left during Thursday's contest against the Royals at Camelback Ranch but got moved to the outfield Wednesday when Dayan Viciedo was removed after having a tooth pulled.
"I knew it was going to happen 100 percent, so it's good to have that one out of the way," Dunn told reporters at the Peoria Sports Complex. "It's harder down here.
Dunn played two games in right field last year for the White Sox and handled the position without an issue. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Dunn will get time in left and at first base during the course of the 2012 regular season and doesn't want him DH-ing the whole time in Arizona.
Danks ups pitch count, works on repertoire
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- John Danks' velocity wasn't as high in his sixth inning of work as it was in the first during Wednesday's Minor League contest against the Mariners' Triple-A squad at Camelback Ranch. But that dip certainly was understandable, with the southpaw stretching out his pitch count to 96 in the warm Arizona climate.
Danks allowed three earned runs on six hits, including a two-run homer to Ralph Henriquez, while fanning seven and walking one. The afternoon was tiring but a good day's work as he points toward Opening Day in Texas.
"I'm getting there. I'm not where I need to be. A lot closer than I was a couple of weeks ago. I'm on pace," Danks said. "I think I'll be ready. It was a good day today. You know, I went out there and experimented with some different things.
"I was able to do some stuff in that game that I probably wouldn't have done in an "A" game and for sure not in a regular-season game. It was good to go out there and with the hitter in the box and try to work on front-door cutters to a lefty and curveballs early in the count and later in the count.
"Obviously, I didn't throw some pitches I would normally throw in a regular-season game but stuff that I can use when the season comes around," Danks said. "I'm really just trying to get comfortable with it, and that way I have another weapon."
Even Danks' changeup, which had given him trouble this spring, worked for him as a strikeout pitch on three occasions Wednesday.
"It's really just a feel pitch and so I just have to get out there in a game situation and throw it," Danks said. "I was able to throw it in a lot of different counts and got a lot of strikeouts with it and I was able to use the slide step changeups and get some ground balls. All and all, it was a great day."
Doyle returned by Twins, headed for Triple-A
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Terry Doyle, the second pick by the Twins during the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft in December, was sent back to the White Sox on Wednesday. The Twins paid $50,000 to take Doyle, who was assigned to Triple-A Charlotte, but get $25,000 in offering him back.
"We offered him back to the White Sox, with some discussion about possibly trying to keep him," said Minnesota general manager Terry Ryan of Doyle, who cleared waivers and posted a 3.07 ERA over 26 starts for Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham last year. "I threw some things at Kenny, he threw some things back just like any of those discussions go. We couldn't work it out, so we're sending him back today.
"He needs to get on with his career. You never like to see a young kid that's trying to make his way to the Major Leagues sit around too long. He's only had a few innings here. That's not good for anybody's career, so we made a decision sooner rather than later."
Third to first
Eric Stults allowed his first runs in five Cactus League outings, but yielded just two runs over four innings in the 13-8 victory over the Mariners. Brian Bruney threw two scoreless innings and Nate Jones tossed one scoreless as part of the battle for the final two bullpen slots.
Jake Peavy will face Rangers Minor Leaguers on Thursday instead of the Royals at Camelback Ranch.
Manager Robin Ventura said after Wednesday's win that it's possible the team will break camp with four lefties in the bullpen. Matt Thornton, Will Ohman and Hector Santiago are set, while Leyson Septimo and Stults are the other lefties in camp.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.