GLENDALE, Ariz. — One day after the White Sox announced starter John Danks (shoulder) is going to be on the disabled list when the regular season opens April 1, another veteran pitcher appears headed for the same fate.
Reliever Jesse Crain, who has been limited to 1 appearance in the Cactus League due to a strained right adductor, still was not feeling good Thursday after throwing 1 inning in a minor-league game a day earlier.
With the Sox breaking camp in less than a week, Crain isn’t even close to being ready.
“It was frustrating just because it’s been about three weeks, so I’m battling through it and it’s not all the way there yet,” Crain said. “Hopefully it’s part of the process of it healing and it just got fatigued and just needs to get stronger.”
Danks, 0-2 with a 16.36 ERA in 4 Cactus League starts, is likely to pitch in a minor-league game Sunday. He understands the DL move.
“They probably couldn’t justify … with the way I’ve thrown so far, I get it,” Danks said. “It’s a little disappointing. But a part of me understands that I have some extra time to get ready, and that’s what we’ll do.
“We’re going to keep working hard. We’re going to stay on the five-day schedule and hopefully be active before too long.”
Crain, who had DL stints with a strained left oblique and strained right shoulder last season, also has a realistic view of his most recent ailment.
“Obviously, if it doesn’t pick up soon, I’d imagine (yes),” Crain said when asked about the DL.
So where do the White Sox go from here?
Were a position player to go down with an injury, there would be concern. But the Sox have all-around pitching depth, so they should be able to survive until Danks and Crain are healthy enough to contribute.
“There are options and we have a few days to kind of figure that out and get them some work, move them around and do all that stuff,” manager Robin Ventura said.
Dylan Axelrod has emerged as Danks’ replacement in the rotation, and he’d likely get the ball behind Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd and Jose Quintana. Axelrod has pitched in 18 games (10 starts) with the White Sox over the past two seasons and is 3-2 with a 4.78 ERA.
Axelrod has been sharp this spring, going 2-1 with a 3.21 ERA in five games (2 starts).
“I’m just not going to take anything for granted,” Axelrod said when asked about taking Danks’ spot. “I’m going to keep doing my work and if it turns out that way then I’ll prepare to do my best in that role.
“You get an opportunity, there’s no telling what can come from that. I’ll prepare like I’d be there all season.”
Axelrod pitched 3 innings of relief Wednesday and he’s scheduled to start Sunday against the Kansas City Royals to continue stretching out.
As for the bullpen, Addison Reed, Matt Thornton, Nate Jones, newcomer Matt Lindstrom, Donnie Veal and Hector Santiago are all secure. Brian Omogrosso is an obvious candidate to replace Crain.
“I got a chance to pitch up here last year, and I think I showed what I can do,” said Omogrosso, who had a 2.57 ERA in 17 games with the White Sox in 2012. “If I am Plan B, that’s fine with me.”
This spring Omogrosso has not allowed an earned run in 10 Cactus League innings.
But he’s not a proven commodity, so the Sox are hoping Crain gets finally gets healthy and stays that way.
“(Crain) still feels something there, so you’re cautious enough to where you’re concerned about sending him back out and see how he’s going to do,” Ventura said.
“There is a possibility he does start on the DL. It’s enough of a concern to start thinking we might have to have some other options.”
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