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.

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

At one point, it was looking like Lucas Giolito could be headed to the White Sox in exchange for Chris Sale.

But when Sale was dealt to the Boston Red Sox, Giolito's name was in the clear of rumors — until 29 hours later, when the Nationals' top prospect would be headed to Chicago in a different trade, which sent outfielder Adam Eaton to Washington.

“It’s kind of like the world we live in now. Social media is always out there and everything is on Twitter,” Giolito said in a conference call Friday. “I saw my name being mentioned on Twitter for Chris Sale. I know with the winter meetings all sorts of stuff being thrown around. I was just trying to focus on what I’m doing in this offseason which is lifting and all my workouts. Kind of just whatever happens, happens. 

“It’s funny that Sale ended up going to the Red Sox and something else happens that I’m going to the White Sox now with a couple teammates. It’s really interesting stuff but I’m super excited.”

The move for Rick Hahn & Co. to acquire Giolito was the second major trade to begin the White Sox rebuilding process. But Giolito didn't come alone.

In addition, the White Sox received Reynaldo Lopez — who Giolito has played with since 2014 — and the Nationals' 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning.

"I definitely think it’s amazing to be coming over to the White Sox with a bunch of young talent," Giolito said. "I think it’s a great opportunity for us to all develop and get better and hopefully put a really good team together in Chicago. Definitely excited to be coming over with a couple guys from my previous organization."

[MORE: Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right]

Giolito went 6-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.28 WHIP across three minor-league levels this past season. He admitted his mechanics weren't quite in sync and is looking to improve on that.

"Sometimes things get out of whack. I believe I let too much get out of whack last year," Giolito said. "So this year with my training program I have in this offseason — lifting and Pilates and everything — I’m just trying to make sure that I can stay as athletic as possible so I’m able to repeat the right delivery more often. Once I start playing catch and doing bullpens and everything these next few weeks, right before spring training, I’m going to make sure I put that all together so I can repeat my delivery as best as possible."

His struggles continued when he got to The Show.

In his major-league debut on June 28, Giolito held the New York Mets to just one hit over four scoreless innings before a rain delay cut his night short. That turned out to be his most effective outing of the season as he finished the year with an 0-1 record, 6.75 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in six games with the Nationals, four of them being starts.

"(My MLB debut) didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked it to go, obviously, as you look at the numbers and everything," he said, "but I feel that with the White Sox now (and) getting traded and everything, it’s kind of like a fresh opportunity and a new start to get up to the big leagues again and contribute and do everything I can to stay there as well."

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Despite his low numbers, the 22-year-old Giolito believes he's ready to play on the White Sox main roster as soon as next season.

"I’ve had some experience in the big leagues last year," Giolito said. "Especially last year, I took a lot positives away because I did experience such a good amount of failure in a lot of I’d say like hardship when I made it up and didn’t perform up to what I believe is my best capabilities.

"I’ve pitched a good amount of innings in the minor leagues and I’ve had a little experience in the big leagues so I’m just really looking forward to making it up in the big leagues with the White Sox and contributing as soon as possible."

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

That Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada have reunited is a nice story, but it won't dramatically change the mindset of the rebuilding White Sox, who earlier this week demonstrated they aren't messing around.

Abreu said in a statement issued by the White Sox on Friday that he's "very happy" about the prospect of again playing alongside Moncada, who played 12 games with the star slugger in 2012 for Cienfuegos in the Cuban National Series. Moncada, 21, is the centerpiece of a four-player package acquired from the Boston Red Sox for Chris Sale on Tuesday, a toolsy infielder who MLB.com has rated as the No. 1 prospect in baseball.

While the concept of Abreu mentoring Moncada has plenty of merit — the first baseman's work ethic is outstanding, and he's beloved by coaches and teammates — don't think the White Sox would hesitate to trade him if someone paid the right price. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn just spent four days at the Winter Meetings discussing how a team that just traded away its best pitcher and position player remains open to listening to all offers and is prepared to do what is must to get the franchise healthy again. 

"We're extremely open-minded on ways to continue the process that we started," Hahn said earlier this week, adding that the White Sox "have to make some painful decisions."

The White Sox have grown tired of never having all the pieces — or even more than a few — to fill the holes created by injury, poor performance, etc. They want to be flush with young talent and essentially have said anything that isn't nailed down at Guaranteed Rate Field is available with the exceptions of Tim Anderson and Carlos Rodon.

The team wants to cash in on the chips it possesses.

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While they don't have a ton, the few the White Sox have could help expedite a rebuild process as the Sale and Eaton trades have shown. Those deals brought back seven players, including three who played at the big league level last season (Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez). Some of those players potentially would start 2017 in the big leagues, and that possibility increases the internal value of Abreu and starting pitcher Jose Quintana, who is equally revered among teammates and coaches for his dedication and team-first mentality. 

Having those young players see firsthand what it takes to excel in the majors from veteran teammates is invaluable. Abreu, who arrived in the United States from Cuba in late 2013, addressed that point in his statement about Moncada, who signed with Boston in 2015.

"Moncada is a five-tool player," Abreu said. "He really has everything needed to succeed, and I know that with the proper guidance of veteran players and coaches with experience he can become an All-Star caliber player."

"He is going to make a huge impact in the White Sox organization, and both the fans and the team will be thankful.

"I already spoke with him to welcome him to the team. I told him that I'm going to be there for him for everything that he needs on and off the field."

In a conference call Wednesday, Moncada said he's "thrilled" to once again play with Abreu. Whether they will hasn't yet been determined.

When asked about Moncada's 2017 starting point earlier in the week, Hahn said the 21-year still needs to develop. Moncada appeared in eight big league games last season for Boston and struggled with contact, striking out 12 times in 20 plate appearances. But that promotion came after a meteoric rise through Boston's farm system, an aggressive path that included only 45 games played above High-A. Nothing has been announced, but it appears Moncada will receive an invite to big league camp next spring and be seated near Abreu in the clubhouse. 

Still, Hahn sounds like he intends for Moncada to spend much of 2017 refining his approach in the minors. He also has demonstrated he is willing to dig deep and make more painful moves if it betters the team in the long run, all of which means the White Sox wouldn't hesitate to trade Abreu or Quintana if they get what they want.