A quick concern about Crain

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A quick concern about Crain

Jesse Crain put together a fantastic 2011 out of the White Sox bullpen, posting a 2.62 ERA while averaging over a strikeout per inning in his first year in Chicago. He was incredibly reliable, appearing in 67 games and throwing 65 13 innings. With that in mind, his name has been thrown around in discussions regarding the team's closer in 2012.

But there are a few concerns. Namely, Crain's high walk rate, his abnormally-high rate of stranding runners on base and his low ground ball rate.

Crain issued 4.27 walks per nine innings, a fairly high number that isn't a red flag on its own -- especially given his high strikeout rate. But that strand rate is concerning.

But there are plenty of relievers who have sustained a strand rate over 80 percent (in other words, four out of every five baserunners they allow to reach do not score). Generally, that strand rate is a number that will regress for starters (only Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels have a strand rate of 80 percent or above in the last two seasons), but for relievers, it's hardly out of the question for a high strand rate to be sustainable, especially those who are high-strikeout guys like Crain.

The high fly ball rate, though, is a little more worrisome given U.S. Cellular Field's propensity to play like a bandbox. Only one in three balls in play off Crain stayed on the ground last season, while nearly half were fly balls. There certainly exists a chance that a few of those fly balls turn into home runs in 2012 just based on a little bit worse luck.

Today on CSN: White Sox square off against Padres

Today on CSN: White Sox square off against Padres

The White Sox are back in action in spring training as they square off against the San Diego Padres. Coverage begins this afternoon at 2 p.m. on CSN!

Probable starters: Jhoulys Chacin vs. Dylan Covey

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White Sox: Jose Quintana pleased with final warmup before Opening Day start

White Sox: Jose Quintana pleased with final warmup before Opening Day start

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana was pleased with his final warmup before Opening Day.

The White Sox Opening Day starter threw 48 pitches (30 strikes) against a Milwaukee Brewers minor league team at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday. Quintana allowed two hits, two runs (one earned), walked one and struck out three in three-plus innings. He next pitches at home on Monday against the Detroit Tigers.

"I finished my preparation on a high note," Quintana said. "I'm heading to the season with good energy and satisfied with all the worked and effort that I put in my preparation.

"I'm absolutely ready for the season to start."

A tweet from USA Today's Bob Nightengale on Tuesday suggested Quintana will start the season as a member of the White Sox despite myriad rumors. Nightengale noted that the Houston Astros refuse budge on what they're willing to pay for the 2016 All-Star. The White Sox have also held firm on their asking price and haven't been motivated by any of the offers they've received to move Quintana.

The team reduced the number of players still in camp to 34 on Tuesday with the trade of Peter Bourjos and by cutting nonroster invitees Cory Luebke and Matt Purke. Luebke, who has been sidelined for six days after he tweaked his hamstring, finished the spring with a 0.96 ERA in 9 1/3 innings. He can opt out of his minor-league deal in May. Purke struck out eight in eight innings and finished with a 2.25 ERA. 

Both had been in the mix for one of two open bullpen spots.

Fellow reliever Jake Petricka looked much calmer on Tuesday than he did after taking a comebacker off his hand Monday. X-rays were negative and Petricka played catch. He hopes to pitch as scheduled this weekend in Milwaukee. 

"This is just one of those you do everything you can do to stay healthy, and its part of the game you can't control," Petricka said. "You never want that to happen, especially this late in camp. "But we dodged a bullet and we're good to go."

The White Sox also had a close call with second baseman Tyler Saladino, who was hit by a pitch in the left wrist in minor league action on Monday. Saladino received treatment and could return to action on Wednesday.

"He's doing good, we're just holding him back today for my well being," Renteria said.

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Renteria said reliever Juan Minaya is improving but still likely to start the season on the DL. Minaya suffered an abdominal tear in mid-March. 

"He has been improving solidly and responding to the treatments," Renteria said.

Yolmer Sanchez went 2-for-2 with an RBI and scored a run in a 7-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Surprise, Ariz. 

Michael Ynoa allowed an unearned run and a hit in 2 1/3 scoreless innings. 

Zack Burdi struck out three in a scoreless inning.