Sox Drawer: Crede's still feeling the pain

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Sox Drawer: Crede's still feeling the pain

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011
Posted: 9:36 p.m.

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

Exactly two years ago today, Joe Crede took the field at the Metrodome against the Oakland As. He didnt know it at the time, but it would be the final game of his major league career.

Battling an injured back that on a scale between 1 and 10 had the pain level of 10, Crede came to the plate four times that day. He struck out every time.

The pain was just out of this world. I played the whole game through that pain, Crede said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet.

Afterwards, he walked into the office of Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and told him that his season was over. So was his career. He just didnt know it at the time.

It really bothered me, trying to come back the next year and not getting much for offers at all. Not being wanted in baseball is not a good feeling after youve played so well and all of sudden it just stops, Crede said. I wish it would have been a storybook ending, but probably 95 percent of major league players dont have a fairy tale ending.

Baseball might have stopped for Crede in 2009, but the pain in his back still remains. Its a problem that may never go away.

It eats at me everyday almost. Everyday I get out of bed, Crede said. I have to get up in the middle of the night and I feel that pain again in my back. It really bothers me. It usually takes me an hour, or an hour and a half to get back to feeling normal walking around. Its what I deal with on a daily basis.

What specifically is wrong with Credes back? Seemingly just about everything.

Theres arthritis back there. My joints are just swelling up, causing irritation. Im sure theres still some herniation in the lower part of the disc, which is irritating the nerves and stuff, Crede said.

The former White Sox third baseman has had three surgeries on his back, and so many cortisone shots during his playing career he doesnt want to know the number. What hed like to know is if there is a doctor somewhere in the world who can fix his back.

Hes yet to find him.

Ive been going to doctors trying to figure out whats going on back there. I dont know. I just dont really have a good enough answer, Crede said. Im kind of at a loss for words with it. How many doctors can you see about it and still feel the same way? Thats another frustrating thing about it for me, is seeing some of the top doctors supposedly in the world and still having my back feel the same way. Ive just kind of learned to deal with it and move on. Thats life.
Joe Crede's fondest memories of his White Sox career come from the magical 2005 season that resulted in a World Series Championship. Crede hit .333 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in the ALCS and World Series. (AP)
In his nine-year White Sox career, Crede made a name for himself diving for baseballs at the hot corner. His incredible plays might have been rally killers, but they also punished just about every fiber in his lower back.

I dont know if it was hereditary or a degenerative disc, which it very possibly could be. I hate to talk about it because Im someone who doesnt like to talk about himself.

But Tuesday, Crede was willing to speak about his calamity while sitting in the White Sox dugout, just yards away from his old third base spot. The White Sox invited Crede back to U.S. Cellular Field to honor him for his celebrated career.

Looking out at the diamond, memories of his playing days started flooding back -- both good and bad.

I can remember dropping a pop fly in the top of the ninth with two outs (vs. the Red Sox in July, 2005). Manny Ramirez on the next pitch hit a home run. We lost 1-0. In the headlines the next day it said Crede E, he said with a laugh. I wanted to crawl under a rock after that.

But he redeemed himself tenfold later that season, especially on Sept. 20 at U.S. Cellular, when he hit a walk-off homer in the 10th inning against the Indians, who had cut the White Sox lead in the Central Division from 15 games to 1 12.

It felt like we were going to blow this big lead here. It just felt like they had all the momentum in the world. But then I hit the home run, that kind of swung the momentum. That was a big moment.

So was the four-game sweep of the Houston Astros, giving the White Sox their first World Series title in 88 years. And there on one of Credes fingers was his championship ring.

Its been a while since Ive worn it, he said, admitting that hes kept it hidden in a closet all this time. I should probably put it in a safe or something, but I guess I live in the country.

Living without pain. Thats Credes goal. Hopefully he gets there. If he does, hell offer the doctor an enormous thank you.

Come to think of it, thats exactly what every White Sox fan would probably say to Joe.

For the memories.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox slugger Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

Tyler Saladino, Jose Abreu homer as White Sox tie Padres in Arizona finale

Tyler Saladino, Jose Abreu homer as White Sox tie Padres in Arizona finale

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Tyler Saladino hit leadoff on Wednesday, finishing with a home run and a single.

Saladino's first-inning drive was one of eight combined homers hit between the White Sox and San Diego Padres, who finished in a 9-all tie at Camelback Ranch. Before the game, White Sox manager Rick Renteria said that Saladino, who finished 2-for-2, would see most of his playing time at second base.

"He's been developing and continuing to grow every single season," Renteria said. "The flexibility that he brings allows him to be in the lineup over an extended period of time. But we want to make sure we take care of him as we want to do with everybody else, kind of keep them all fresh as much as we can.

"He's developed into a pretty good major league baseball player."

Jose Abreu, Nick Delmonico and Jake Peter all homered for the White Sox. Delmonico led the White Sox with five homers this spring. Abreu went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs.

[Buy White Sox tickets right here]

Rule 5 pitcher Dylan Covey, who appears primed to make the Opening Day roster, allowed two earned runs in his lone inning pitched. Covey then headed to the bullpen and threw additional pitches there as the White Sox continue to build up his arm strength.

Veteran Anthony Swarzak allowed a run and struck out two in two innings. Reliever Dan Jennings allowed five runs (four earned) and four hits in 1/3 innings.

First-rounder Zack Collins drew a pair of walks in his only plate appearances and scored a run.

The White Sox ended the spring with a 16-15-2 record.

White Sox pitching staff nearly complete with prospect Zack Burdi headed to Triple-A

White Sox pitching staff nearly complete with prospect Zack Burdi headed to Triple-A

GLENDALE, Ariz. — With Zack Burdi headed for the minors, the White Sox 12-man pitching staff is all but set.

The Opening Day roster won't be finalized until Sunday and the White Sox hypothetically could find an attractive candidate to claim off the waiver wire over the weekend. But barring that, it looks as if veteran Anthony Swarzak and second-year reliever Michael Ynoa have made the team after Burdi said Wednesday morning that he'd start the season at Triple-A Charlotte. 

The No. 7 prospect in the organization, according to MLBPipeline.com, Burdi finished the spring with a 6.75 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 12 innings. Burdi finished his Cactus League on a high note with three strikeouts over an inning on Tuesday, including one of Kansas City four-time All-Star catcher Salvador Perez. 

"Man, it's been crazy," Burdi said. "Coming in and being the young guy in the locker room and then just progressing and showing a little bit more (comfort) around the guys and the veterans and then just being able to pick their brains and go out every day and try to progress. You get to the innings and you are facing guys you've watched your last 10 years of your life. It has been crazy and definitely something I won't forget."

Burdi lasted the longest this spring out of the cache of highly-touted prospects the White Sox brought to big league camp. Prior to escaping a first-and-third, one-out jam Tuesday, Burdi looked like he would allow a run in a third straight game after a hot start to camp (he only allowed a run in one of his first 10 appearances). But Burdi battled back and struck out Perez on three pitches, one of two straight strikeouts to strand both runners.

Pitching coach Don Cooper has been impressed by Burdi throughout the spring. But he also wants to see the Louisville product continue to work on command in the minors.

"You can't not see his stuff," Cooper said. "Everybody gets excited when you see 99, 100, 101. But whether you throw it 101 or 83 like [Mark] Buehrle you have to throw it to the glove with command, change speeds and all that stuff. But he's a big part of our future going forward. He's one of the names."

Burdi said he plans to operate like he has already spring and not pay attention to any of the hype. Though he'd like to play in the majors, Burdi is excited to play alongside the likes of Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer in Charlotte.

"Once you get a feel for all this stuff and you feel how cool it is to be in the locker room with all these guys and play with them, of course you want to get back up here," Burdi said. "But at the same time, a lot of my really good friends are on Charlotte and I couldn't be more excited to go down there and play with them and make the most of the season down there."