By Jimmy Carlton
MILWAUKEE – The White Sox surrendered a late lead and lost Saturday’s exhibition game, 5-4, to the Milwaukee Brewers. But they did not lose any more players to injury.
Not bothered by the result -- that was what manager Robin Ventura was taking away from Miller Park following the two-game tune-up. His ball club was mostly healthy and he saw what he wanted to see from the handful players who were banged up coming into the mini-series.
“Everybody got through unscathed, so we’re good,” Ventura said before the team boarded a bus back to Chicago.
Reliever Jesse Crain (hip) pitched on Friday, while right-fielder Alex Rios (back) and shortstop Alexei Ramirez (shoulder) played both days. Ventura said all were recovered and ready for the start of the season.
No one is more ready than Ventura, who reiterated his Milwaukee mantra that he simply wanted to avoid injuries with Opening Day on Monday.
“It’s nice to get through it,” Ventura said. “Everybody’s feeling good, healthy, so get them out of there before something happens.”
The White Sox begin the season with two players on the disabled list. Left-hander John Danks, who’s recovering from left shoulder surgery, and lefty Leyson Septimo, who has a left shoulder strain, are both on the 15-day DL.
Roster moves include sending down Omogrosso
The White Sox announced six roster moves on Saturday, the most notable being optioning reliever Brian Omogrosso to Class AAA Charlotte.
Omogrosso was in the running for the final spot in the bullpen, but when Crain proved healthy and able on Friday, the writing was on the wall. Omogrosso had a stellar spring, not allowing an earned run in 12 1/3 innings and holding opponents to a .159 batting average, but the decision was made to go with the veteran Crain.
“He knew coming up here that if Jesse wasn’t healthy, he had a shot at being that guy,” Ventura said. “But once Jesse passed the test, (Omogrosso is) going to Charlotte.”
[Related: A look at the White Sox 25-man roster]
The White Sox also reassigned five players. They sent catcher Bryan Anderson, infielders Josh Bell and Steve Tolleson and right-handers Jeff Gray and Ramon Troncoso down to minor-league camp. Those moves did not come as a surprise to the players.
“They already knew,” Ventura said. “They knew a few days ago, so they had their stuff packed. But you’re bringing them on a trip. I think for some of them they like coming on the trip, but now the reality of it is we’re starting the season.”
Axelrod ‘fine’ in extended work
Dylan Axelrod pitched 5 2/3 innings on Saturday against the Brewers. It was an up-and-down outing for the right-hander, who will open the season as the White Sox fifth starter.
Axelrod came out firing and was mostly solid, not allowing a run until the eighth inning. But then things fell apart, as he was tagged for three runs and needed righty Matt Zaleski to come in and get the final out.
Ventura wasn’t concerned, though, about Axelrod, who allowed eight hits and a walk while striking out three.
“Him being the fifth guy, we were just trying to give him as many innings, pitches, just to try and stretch him out,” Ventura said. “He threw fine, it was good to see.”
-- Gavin Floyd started and pitched one inning against the Brewers. He gave up a two-run home run to Rickie Weeks and allowed one other hit and a walk, but also struck out two batters, including Ryan Braun. It was characteristic of the righty’s other five spring training starts, which were up-and-down.
-- Jose Quintana followed Floyd and also pitched a single frame. He threw well, striking out two and giving up one hit. The lefty appeared to be back to his early spring form, when he didn’t allow a run in his first six innings, rather than that of his last three appearances, in which he gave up five runs in nine innings.
-- Adam Dunn started at first base Saturday and socked his fourth home run of the preseason, a line-drive shot to right field. Dunn certainly seemed to enjoy the trip to Milwaukee, going 4-for-5 with three RBIs in the two games.
-- The White Sox put on an offensive clinic in the fifth inning. They scored three runs on three hard-hit doubles and a single. They’ve could’ve scored even more, but Ramirez was thrown out at third trying to stretch his two-bagger into a triple.
-- Alejandro De Aza collected a pair of singles in his two at-bats from the leadoff spot.