03/24/2013 1:33 AM ET
Crain ready to return to Cactus League action
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- News from White Sox reliever Jesse Crain's appearance in a Saturday afternoon Minor League game was much more positive than it was after his previous outing on Wednesday.
Crain, who hasn't appeared in the Cactus League since Feb. 25, felt the muscle strain in his upper right leg after about 10 pitches on Wednesday. On Saturday, Crain went full force through six outs and 20 pitches without any trouble.
"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.
"I was trying to let it go today. I kind of went straight out there to the mound, didn't get a long toss or anything before. Was letting it go, throwing all my pitches, and I felt fine. It's about the best it's been so far."
Next up for Crain is a return to Cactus League action against the Angels on Monday. If he gets through that test and again on Wednesday against the Indians, then the veteran right-hander still has a chance to break camp with the White Sox.
Because it was a leg injury, Crain has been able to play catch and keep his arm in shape while he's been out of action.
"Even the times I got on the mound and my leg bothered me, I've still been able to at least pitch," Crain said. "For the most part, I feel like all my pitches will be there. It's just making my leg feel good."
"There's small steps you take," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said, "and this is really the first one of just making sure he's out of the woods. He looked fine. It's one of those, you just monitor and it looked a lot better today than it did a couple of days ago."
If Crain's pain reappears, the worst-case scenario is he starts on the disabled list, with Brian Omogrosso having the inside track for the vacant relief spot. Crain is prepared for the possibility, but not giving it much thought.
"You know it's a long season. It's a marathon; it's not a sprint," Crain said. "If it did bother me at the end of the week, it's better to get it taken care of early rather than late.
"Hopefully that's not the case. 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. Today the way it responded it didn't feel tired or feel like it was overworked like it has in the past."
Peavy 'ready to go' as regular season looms
GLENDALE -- Even with the extended length of the 2013 Spring Training, Jake Peavy's start on Saturday night against the Dodgers was just his second in the Cactus League. He also has worked in two Minor League games and one simulated game on a White Sox off-day.
Saturday's 106-pitch outing might have came against an All-Star laden L.A. lineup, and it might have been in front of a Cactus League-record 13,721 at Camelback Ranch, but Peavy didn't view it as any different than a back-field contest.
"Baseball is baseball," said Peavy, who allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings, while fanning five. "Pitching in Spring Training, obviously it's nice to get out under the lights and play a big league team. But in the end of the day, you are getting your work in one way or the other.
"It was fun to go out in front of the crowd. It just didn't work out the other days and we got our work in elsewhere. But I feel ready to go."
Peavy's velocity has been consistently up throughout the spring, up closer to what he featured in his 2007 Cy Young season with the Padres. Peavy is not sure what that extra velocity will get him, but he likes the way the ball is coming out of his hand.
"I couldn't be happier how camp went, really, at this point and time," said Peavy, who will stay back and throw in Arizona on Thursday's off-day. "I'm healthy, I'm excited and I feel like I'm ready to go. I'll scale back to make sure we feel fresh for Kansas City."
FGCU-SDSU matchup divides White Sox camp
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The enjoyment over Florida Gulf Coast University's huge NCAA Tournament upset of Georgetown on Friday lasted about five minutes for Chris Sale and his wife, Brianne. Then the phone rang for the White Sox Opening Day starter.
"It's Addison Reed," said the lefty with a laugh. "Here we go."
Sale's alma mater will be taking on San Diego State, Reed's alma mater, on Sunday, with a Sweet 16 berth on the line. All trash talking aside, Sale once again expressed pride in what the FGCU men's basketball program has been able to accomplish.
"My wife and I have been walking around last night and today and we are just happy," Sale said. "When I was there, our baseball coach said, 'We might not be the best team on paper, but we're going to work harder than everybody else and we're going to want it more.' In sports, that's all it takes. They showed their fight, and it was awesome. It was fun to watch."
Reed doesn't need saves to prepare as closer
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox closer Addison Reed has appeared in six Cactus League games, not to mention Minor League games such as Saturday, where he threw two innings and struck out four over 36 pitches. Not one of those appearances has come in a save situation.
Pitching the ninth inning and protecting a lead during Spring Training doesn't matter much to the 24-year-old who set a single-season franchise rookie record with 29 saves last year. It's all about the work.
"I'd be fine throwing the first inning and I'm fine throwing an inning in the Minor League games," Reed said. "As long as I'm getting my arm strength up there, getting innings, getting work. It doesn't make any difference."
That closing "feel" comes whenever Reed takes the mound during Spring Training.
"My mindset is if I go out there in the first inning, I'm taking it as three guys up and I'm trying to get those three guys out in consecutive order," Reed said. "I don't think that I have to throw the ninth inning in a game to get that feel."
Danks continues comeback on Minor League side
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Statistics and results certainly won't be the focus when John Danks takes his rehab work to the Minor League side on Sunday. Danks, who all but certainly will start the 2013 season on the disabled list, is coming back from Aug. 6 arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder.
Manager Robin Ventura will be looking for a bump in velocity from the 86-88-mph range Danks has been in during Cactus League action, as well as the strength and the ball coming free and easy out of his hand.
"Part of it has been he hasn't got it up there to get that differential," said Ventura. "He's not fully back, that's what you get from watching him throw. He is capable of going out there but he's not back to what you'd expect him to be."
Third to first
• The Arizona Fall League announced Saturday night that the Phoenix Desert Dogs will be relocated to Camelback Ranch in Glendale this year. The team will feature prospects from the White Sox and Dodgers, among others, who play their Spring Training home games at the facility.
• The White Sox have acquired Minor League infielder Cody Puckett from the Reds for cash considerations. Puckett hit .257 with 77 homers and 288 RBIs over 538 games and five seasons in the Reds organization after being selected in the eighth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. The White Sox also traded Minor League outfielder Justin Green to Arizona for cash considerations on Saturday.
• Alex Rios was scratched from Saturday night's starting lineup with lower back stiffness that he felt while lifting weights. Rios was replaced by Minor League outfielder Brandon Short.
"I just scratched him today," said Ventura of his starting right fielder. "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."
• Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn visited White Sox camp on Saturday. Quinn is a die-hard White Sox fan.
"I wish it added a couple more wins," said Ventura with a laugh of Quinn's support. "It's nice to have fans who appreciate what we do."
• Jeff Keppinger entered Saturday's game with six hits in his last seven at-bats. The third baseman also had seemingly worked through right shoulder irritation that plagued him throughout the early part of camp, which was related to the lack of an offseason throwing program because of the broken right fibula he suffered.
"Offensively, he's been there the whole [spring]. He has been great," Ventura said. "Defensively, he's caught back up and looks fine, feels good. So just cross your fingers that we make it to Opening Day where everybody's feeling good. But he's done everything."