Jesse Crain took the first step toward perhaps being traded next week when he threw off the mound on Tuesday.
The White Sox reliever, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder, had played catch three times since the club returned from the All-Star break on Friday. But the hope is Crain, a first-time All-Star this season, continues to progress.
If so, he might return to the mound by Sunday -- without going on a rehab assignment -- for a last-minute showcase before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline. Crain, who established a franchise record with 29 straight scoreless appearances earlier this season, is thought to be the premier relief pitcher on the trade market.
[More: Garza trade could mean Peavy's next]
Even though Crain represents one of the team’s strongest trade chips, the emphasis is to first make sure he’s healthy, pitching coach Don Cooper said.
“We want to do enough work without doing too much,” Cooper said. “We want to do it to the point where he's maybe a tad fatigued, making sure you've got that good workout in and feel good before, during and after. Now we're waiting on the after, which is tomorrow. We've got a plan laid out for Jesse as we would for any player in the situation but the plan is contingent on how he feels each day. In my mind it was a step in a positive direction.”
Crain threw 33 pitches in his session. Cooper said the plan calls for another possible bullpen session on Thursday if Crain’s health holds up. Crain reported he felt good after his side Tuesday.
His main focus is to be ready for the rest of the season.
“You don’t want this to happen,” Crain said. “I didn’t have a chance to pitch in the All-Star Game or anything but some things you can’t control. I’m just taking it day by day and I want to get back so I can get ready for the rest of the season.”
Sale apologizes to Ventura
Chris Sale said he’s embarrassed by the way he handled manager Robin Ventura’s decision to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera on Monday night. Sale and Cooper appeared to argue on the field and it carried over into the tunnel where Ventura joined in.
Sale said Tuesday he apologized to Ventura after the game for his actions and said the two have put it behind them.
“You are going to run into some stuff like this,” Sale said. “It’s going to take a lot more than an in-game misunderstanding or conversation to deter our relationship. I think we have all gotten on the same page. Just put it behind us. … No matter how confident I am in myself for what I think might be right, at the end of the day, it’s his call. And I have to respect that. And learn from my experiences -- good, bad or indifferent -- learn from it and move forward.”
[More: Sale wanted to face Cabrera]
After Monday’s loss, Ventura said it was his decision to walk Cabrera and Sale needs to handle the situation better.
But he also knows where his pitcher is coming from.
“I get where he’s at,” Ventura said. “I get the emotions of him being a pitcher and what he means. But, you know, he has to understand my job and being in my seat what I have to do.”
Another day off for Beckham
Ventura thinks second baseman Gordon Beckham could play if the situation was dire enough. But the White Sox want to allow the second baseman’s strained left wrist the proper amount of time to heal. Ventura said it would be several more days before a determination is made whether Beckham, who is out of the lineup for a third straight game, needs to go on the DL.
“Gordon can probably go out there if you need him to do so, but this is more about getting him completely healthy,” Ventura said.