GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Thornton played catch on Thursday without incident and the White Sox are breathing a little easier.
The veteran reliever reported to the coaching staff he feels fine after he missed the past two days with soreness in his left triceps. An MRI taken on Tuesday showed Thornton has tendonitis in his left elbow but no structural damage.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Thornton, who tied a career-high with 74 appearances last season, is scheduled to play catch on Friday.
“I think the concern level has gone down, Ventura said. “We’re not in the orange area anymore. I think it would be yellow. We’re going to go to yellow at this point.”
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The plan calls for Thornton to take it easy this spring. He didn’t begin a throwing program until January and isn’t expected to overdo it when it comes to game action this spring. Thornton thinks the inflammation in his elbow is the result of a long first week of work and has described it as a minor concern.
Thornton isn't scheduled to appear in a Cactus League game until March 5.
“I’m worried about April 1. That’s all I care about,” Thornton said. “I don’t care if I get two or three games in and somehow something else happens. I get two or three games in and I’m ready April 1. If April 1 comes in jeopardy, believe me you guys will know and I’d be worried then. … It’s no big deal.”
Rienzo strikes out two
Prospect Andre Rienzo struck out a pair of batters in two innings in a White Sox intrasquad game on Thursday. Rienzo allowed a pair of runs -- one was unearned -- for Team 2, which lost 4-3 in 5 1/ 2 innings. Team 1 fielded mostly White Sox starting position players.
Rienzo earned a called third strike against White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers.
“You kind of don’t believe it,” Rienzo said. “You see the guys on TV and now I see the guys’ locker right there. It’s crazy to be here. I try to enjoy it a lot. I hope to impress somebody. I felt good today. I threw good and I feel good. I hope I keep doing that.”
Rienzo is next scheduled to pitch on Monday against the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale before he takes off to pitch for Brazil in the World Baseball Classic.
Brent Morel had an RBI double and Blake Tekotte had an RBI triple in the rather messy exhibition game.
“There were portions that were sloppy,” Ventura said. “For me, it’s good you get that out of the way now so that guys wake up a little bit and you don’t have that in your first game.”
De Aza to play in WBC
A team source confirmed on Thursday afternoon that outfielder Alejandro De Aza will be the fifth member of the organization to play in the World Baseball Classic. De Aza accepted an invitation to play for the Dominican Republic. He will take the place of Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez, who declined an invitation, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
Alex Rios said Thursday he will leave to join Team Puerto Rico on March 2. Reliever Jesse Crain will join Team Canada here in Phoenix in early March while Rienzo said he’ll leave to join Brazil in Japan on Feb. 26. Minor league infielder Andy Gonzales is also participating for Puerto Rico.