Crain nearing return to Sox bullpen

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Crain nearing return to Sox bullpen

By Paul Latour
CSNChicago.com contributor

Jesse Crain is back in the White Sox fold, but its still not completely clear when hell rejoin the bullpen.

The Sox are expected to activate him following tonights series opener against Detroit at U.S. Cellular Field. Theyll need to make a corresponding roster move to do that.

Fresh from a two-appearance rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Charlotte, Crain said the strained left oblique feels good.

Those two outings down there showed me that I was over it, and couldnt feel it at all, Crain said.

Crain, a 30-year-old right-hander, was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 27, retroactive to April 21. He hasnt pitched for Chicago since April 20 at Seattle.

He made two strong appearances with Charlotte over the weekend. On Friday, he worked one scoreless inning, throwing 21 pitches (14 strikes). Crain needed only nine pitches to get through one perfect inning with two strikeouts in Sundays rehab start.

It was good to get out there Sunday to make sure everything was good to go, Crain said. You want to get out there and throw normal, but I was kind of killing two birds with one stone. Making sure I felt good, most importantly, but also feeling good mechanically and arm-wise. Sunday I was even more crisp than I was on Friday.

Crain will likely join the bullpen Tuesday for the conclusion of the short series with the Tigers. But manager Robin Ventura sounded less optimistic.

I think it could be a couple more days for him to come back, Ventura said.

Crain is 0-0 with a 2.57 ERA, two holds and 10 strikeouts over six games this season with the Sox. Hes allowed two earned runs in seven innings of work.

Four top prospects among 19 players invited to White Sox big league camp

Four top prospects among 19 players invited to White Sox big league camp

Four of the team's top-10 prospects and a former All-Star are among the 19 nonroster invitees to White Sox big league camp this spring.

The team announced Monday that prospects Michael Kopech, Zack Collins, Zack Burdi and Spencer Adams have all been invited to camp next month. Everth Cabrera, an All-Star in 2013 for the San Diego Padres, Cody Asche, Cory Luebke and Geovany Soto are among the eight minor league free agents who also received an invitation. Pitchers and catchers report to camp in Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 14 while the team holds its first full-squad workout on Feb. 18.

Kopech was acquired in the Chris Sale trade in December while Collins and Burdi were both selected in the 2016 amateur draft. Adams was drafted in 2014.

Signed earlier this month, Soto is expected to earn a spot on the 25-man roster. Soto, who played for the White Sox in 2015, finished last season with four home runs and an .809 OPS in 86 plate appearances for the Los Angeles Angels.

Cabrera, who produced 4.6 Wins Above Replacement between 2012-13, hasn't played in the majors since he appeared in 29 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. Luebke, who has twice had reconstructive elbow surgery, finished with a 9.35 ERA in nine games for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. Asche blasted 31 homers with a .240/.298/.385 slash line in 1,287 plate appearances since 2013 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Other minor league free agents include: left-handed pitcher David Holmberg, right-handers Blake Smith and Anthony Swarzak, and catcher Roberto Pena.

White Sox minor leaguer pitchers Aaron Bummer, Brian Clark, Jace Fry and Matt Purke, infielders Nicky Delmonico and Danny Hayes, and outfielder Courtney Hawkins also have been invited to camp.

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