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07/23/08 3:51 PM ET

Crede feeling better, return uncertain

Third baseman misses second straight game with sore back

CHICAGO -- Asking Joe Crede how his back will feel Friday, let alone one week from now, is somewhat akin to asking Crede to predict the weather at that same point.

"If I know the way I was going to feel one week from now, it would be interesting," said Crede with a smile. "The only thing I know right now is I feel better than I did yesterday."

Crede missed his second straight game on Wednesday afternoon with lower back stiffness, a problem that caused him to be scratched from Tuesday's starting lineup. The stiffness arose when he was taking a swing in the batting cage, felt something and then just couldn't get loose.

For the next few days, Crede will undergo extensive treatment on the area, using the contrast of going back and forth from hot to cold, and doing whatever else planned to get more blood flow in the area and loosen up the back. As Crede expressed after Tuesday's victory, it's better to be safe in the short term than risk it and be out for an extended period.

"This can lead to worse things," Crede said. "I would rather take a step back than keep pushing it and sit out much longer."

Tuesday's pregame exit marked Crede's second scratch because of back stiffness this year, after it flared up prior to a June 24 game at Dodger Stadium. But this trouble is stiffness, as opposed to the pain radiating from his back down Crede's legs last year.

And White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen appreciates Crede's honesty as to when he can and can't go.

"He's honest with me; he's honest with his teammates, saying, 'I can't go today', because Joe can go easy out there and play without being 100 percent," Guillen said. "I think we're lucky enough to keep Joe in the lineup the way we are right now because after the back surgery he had, we never know what we're going to get.

"We're pleased with the way he's playing right now," Guillen added.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.