Sox get relief, take Crain away from Twins

341322.jpg

Sox get relief, take Crain away from Twins

Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010
Posted 8:16 PM Updated 9:02 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

All indications late Wednesday were that the Chicago White Sox had signed Minnesota Twins free agent reliever Jesse Crain to a three year deal.

The signing, first hinted at by the Chicago Sun-Times and quickly confirmed by Peter Gammons of the MLB Network, fortifies the Chicago bullpen with a live, veteran arm who looks to slip right into the right-handed setup slot vacated by J.J. Putz.

The White Sox bullpen now shapes up to feature Matt Thornton and Chris Sale in a combination of lefty setup man and closer and Sergio Santos and Crain as right-handed setup men. Tony Pena, once ticketed to fill the role Crain now occupies, may well resume a long relief role, with another long man, preferably a lefthander, pending.

Crain had a career year in 2010 for the Twins, pitching in 71 games and amassing a 3.04 ERA, with a career-best 62 strikeouts out of the bullpen and an 8.21 K9. Stats guru Bill James projects Crain to regress in 2011, with an ERA jumping up to 3.55 and his K9 rate falling below 7.0.

Crain fits well in a Chicago bullpen filled with power arms, and features a wicked slider that has made a fool of many a White Sox hitter in the past. However, Crain has a tendency to give up flyballs, which could have a much more dangerous effect in homer-happy U.S. Cellular Field than at the Metrodome or Target Field in Minnesota.

While the closers role is open for the 2011 White Sox, dont expect Crain to throw his cap into the ring, with a dismal career save percentage of .188.

While the move could signify Sale assuming a starting role in 2011 (the status of a rehabilitating Jake Peavy for April is still up for question), unless Chicago wants to insert Santos as its closer, the addition of Crain means little.

Both manager Ozzie Guillen and GM Ken Williams have identified the likely 2011 closer as Sale or Thornton, and placing Sale in the rotation will leave Thornton (thus the likely closer) as the only late-inning lefthander in the bullpen. There is zero chance the White Sox will move forward with such an unbalanced relief corps.

Crain will join Matt Thornton, Sergio Santos and likely Chris Sale in the back end of the Sox bullpen in 2011.

Preview: White Sox aim to avoid sweep vs. Diamondbacks today on CSN

white_sox_d-backs_preview.jpg

Preview: White Sox aim to avoid sweep vs. Diamondbacks today on CSN

The White Sox take on the Arizona Diamondbacks today, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (2-5, 3.92 ERA) vs. TBD

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

Dylan Covey injured as White Sox fall to Diamondbacks

Dylan Covey injured as White Sox fall to Diamondbacks

PHOENIX — Dylan Covey exited Tuesday’s loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks with left oblique soreness. The short-handed White Sox won’t know until Wednesday at the earliest how long they could be without their Rule 5 starting pitcher, who missed significant time in 2016 with the same injury.

Covey sustained the injury in the third inning of a 5-4 loss to Arizona in front of 17,865 at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks homered twice off the right-hander, scoring four times in 2 1/3 innings. The bullpen pitched well enough to allow the White Sox to rally, but they fell just short despite Jose Abreu’s 100th career home run and loading the bases in the eighth inning.

“Where I’m at now, doing some ice and stuff, I feel a lot better compared to last year,” Covey said. “I could hardly move last year. Trying to stay optimistic. Hopefully this will be a short little recovery.

“The next stop in the timeline is see how it feels in the morning.”

Though both James Shields and Carlos Rodon are on the mend, the White Sox are already down two starting pitchers. Rodon is further along having thrown off a mound four times, including 60 pitches in a simulated game on Monday. But the White Sox don’t have a lot of depth in the farm system as they’re not willing to forgo development to fill a need in Chicago.

What could further complicate the team’s plans is that they already were potentially in need of another starting pitcher for Friday’s doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.

“He had a little strain,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We’ll re-evaluate him (Wednesday). Strain of the oblique. We’ll check it out tomorrow. Hopefully it’s nothing too lingering.”

Covey exited the game after he recorded the first out of the third inning. He induced a ground ball and signaled the bench, which brought out Renteria and trainer Herm Schneider. Covey, who allowed two more home runs on Tuesday, didn’t attempt to throw any warmup pitches before he exited.

The right-hander brought an 0-3 mark and a 7.64 ERA into the contest. Paul Goldschmidt tripled in a run off Covey with one out in the first inning ahead of a two-run home run by Jake Lamb. Chris Herrmann also blasted a solo homer to left to start the second inning. Covey, who had made only six starts above Single-A before the White Sox selected him in the Rule 5 draft last December, has allowed 13 home runs in 37 2/3 innings this season.

“I only felt it on the pitch,” Covey said. “Might have been maybe a little tight leading up to the game. Felt fine throughout the game, it was just on that pitch I felt it.”

[VIVID SEATS: Get your White Sox tickets here]

The White Sox bullpen picked up the slack as Chris Beck, Gregory Infante, David Holmberg and Tommy Kahnle combined to allow one run over the final 5 2/3 innings.

That allowed the White Sox to work their way back into the contest. Melky Cabrera homered in the second inning to make it a two-run game. After Arizona scored in the bottom of the second, Todd Frazier’s two-run homer made it a 4-3 game in the third inning.

Abreu blasted a solo shot off Jorge De La Rosa in the eighth to get the White Sox within a run. They loaded the bases with one out but J.J. Hoover struck out Omar Narvaez and Yolmer Sanchez to maintain the one-run lead for Arizona.

“We had a lot of hard-hit balls today, and sometimes they fall, sometimes they don’t,” Renteria said. “I really do want to commend our guys for fighting and playing the game. They’ve been doing it all year long. This is no different. There are ups and downs, and right now hopefully we continue to play as focused as we have been and we’ll get some shutdown innings that help us, and we’ll continue to try to score some runs and see if we can win a ballgame.”