CHICAGO -- Alexei Ramirez returned from the White Sox seven-game road trip Sunday night and sat in the driveway leading up to his house for close to 30 minutes.

The White Sox shortstop had to be tired after playing in New York's sweltering weekend heat, but this particular pause had nothing to do with exhaustion. Ramirez was about to be reunited with his parents, Armando and Edith, who came from Cuba to Chicago while Ramirez was out of town, and he simply was trying to compose himself.

"I was so nervous, and there were so many emotions running through me," Ramirez told MLB.com Wednesday, through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Jackson Miranda. "It took me a while to calm myself until I saw them.

"When I saw them, there was just a lot of crying and a lot of hugging. It was a lot of love. It was great."

Upon being asked how his parents made their way from Cuba, Ramirez chose not to go into specific details.

"I'm excited to have them here," said Ramirez, whose parents will live in Chicago with his family during the season and then in Florida with them during the offseason. "I just thank God. It's a great dream to have come true."

That dream moved to another level on Tuesday, when Ramirez's parents saw him play live for the first time with the White Sox. On Wednesday, Armando threw a ceremonial first pitch to his son before the start of the contest against the Rangers.

Ramirez said that his parents already have taken to Chicago. After not seeing them since 2007, when he came to the United States to start his Major League career in the '08 season, Ramirez can't wait to make up for their lost time together starting with this special Independence Day.

"You can't make back five years, not being there," Ramirez said. "But I treasure that every day from now on I'll be able to be with them."

A group of eight veterans who had served overseas were recognized by the White Sox on the field before Wednesday's game in conjunction with the Fourth of July holiday. Each honored guest stood at a position prior to the first pitch, meeting that specific White Sox player and having him sign a baseball.

Heath gives the White Sox 10 rookies

CHICAGO -- Another day, and another rookie joins the White Sox.

Deunte Heath received the call on Wednesday, as the right-hander replaced Jesse Crain on the active roster. Crain was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to June 24, with a strain in the back of his right shoulder.

Heath, 26, gives the White Sox 10 rookies on their 25-man roster, with eight rookie pitchers and six of the seven in the bullpen being first-year hurlers. He posted a 4-2 record with a 1.70 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings over 22 games for Triple-A Charlotte.

His last two appearances came as a starter on June 24 at Rochester and Sunday at Pawtucket, covering four innings each. Heath immediately becomes an option to start the first-half finale on Sunday at home against the Blue Jays, with Chris Sale's spot being skipped.

"There's a mix of everything on Sunday," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who could bring back Wednesday starter Dylan Axelrod on three days' rest as part of that mix. "Everybody is going to be ready on Sunday. Guys have issues going on, so let's take care of it now, and having rookies, that's what we got."

"Whatever they need. You can't turn it down, you know," said Heath, who was signed as a free agent on April 22, 2010, and will wear uniform No. 60. "I treat it the same as when I was in the 'pen."

Crain wants to be ready for strong finish

CHICAGO -- White Sox reliever Jesse Crain had a strain in the back of his right shoulder during the 2009 season while pitching for the Twins, and missed from April 18-May 4. So he doesn't expect an extended absence with that problem having now resurfaced, placing him on the disabled list Wednesday (retroactive to June 24), but leaving him ready to return when the club begins its second-half schedule on July 13 in Kansas City.

"My rotator muscles get fatigued, and the strain happens," said Crain, who was hampered by a right oblique strain cutting short his Spring Training and then a left oblique strain putting him on the DL from April 21-May 14. "Just build it back up and go from there. I came back fine in 2009, the last time I had this."

This Crain injury means the White Sox have six rookie relievers and Matt Thornton in their bullpen, although Addison Reed, Nate Jones and Hector Santiago are the "seasoned veterans" of that group. Crain could have forced his way through this soreness but understands his veteran presence will be greatly needed during the season's final two months for American League Central-leading White Sox.

"You learn a lot your first year in the big leagues," Crain said. "But once August comes around, you have a whole other month and you are not used to playing that many games in the Minor Leagues. With this game, a lot of guys can pitch, but the biggest thing is mental, especially being in the bullpen. Our guys have kept their confidence no matter what.

"We have half the season left and I'm a big piece of that bullpen. I need to take these five games and All-Star break, rather than try and push through to pitch a game or two before the All-Star break. Hopefully this time will get me up to 100 percent where I'll be good the whole second half."

Sale likely to start in first series of second half

CHICAGO -- With Chris Sale making his final first-half appearance during Tuesday's 19-2 victory over the Rangers, the first-year starter will have at least a 10-day break, aside from his first All-Star appearance Tuesday in Kansas City.

The White Sox could extend that break even longer into their second-half-opening 10-game road trip to manage his rising innings total, now sitting at 102 2/3 to go with his 2.19 ERA, but manager Robin Ventura indicated Sale would work during that opening series against the Royals.

"I have a decent idea that he would pitch in that first series when we get back," said Ventura. "Again, you look at what he does when he's [at the All-Star Game]. He'll probably throw an inning, and [we'll] just see how he feels when he gets back.""

If Sale starts Saturday, July 14, against the Royals, he would pitch again the following Thursday in Boston and miss the weekend Tigers series. If Sale starts Sunday, July 15, against the Royals, he would face Detroit Friday, but miss the Red Sox.

Third to first

• With the game-time temperature forecast to be around 100 for Thursday's game, after hot ones on Tuesday and Wednesday, Ventura hinted that some reserves could get starts.

• The White Sox played a humorous pregame Final Vote video on the center-field scoreboard in which Gordon Beckham impersonated Jake Peavy. Beckham had the Peavy mannerisms and buzzwords down perfectly, with the video followed by Chris Sale's plea to get the vote out for his teammate before Thursday's 3 p.m. CT deadline.

• A.J. Pierzynski caught his 1,500th game Wednesday, which is the most among active catchers and 30th all-time.