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White Sox still have work to do as camp winds down

GavFloyd

Gavin Floyd

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Updated: April 27, 2013 6:32AM



GLENDALE, Ariz. — If finishing camp on a high note was a goal for the White Sox, well, that’s just not happening.

In the last week, it became obvi-
ous left-hander John Danks wouldn’t be ready to contribute in the near future. On Monday, outfielder Alex Rios left camp for a precautionary MRI exam on his stiff back that kept him out of the lineup for a third consecutive day.

The Sox, who’ve won only once in their last eight games (six losses, one tie), fell below .500 for the first time Sunday and continued to look flat Monday, with right-hander Gavin Floyd being rocked for six runs and 10 hits in his first three innings in a 11-5 loss to the Los
Angeles Angels.

Reliever Jesse Crain, testing his strained right adductor for the first time in a Cactus League game since Feb. 25, said he felt good and was touching 93 or 94 mph on the speed gun, but he couldn’t get three outs in the ninth. He gave up four runs, three hits and a walk, and whether he makes the Opening Day roster will be a weekend decision.

In sum, the Sox are less than a week away from playing for real against the Kansas City Royals, and they have two big question marks and no Danks. What’s more, they’re not playing very well, either.

‘‘It doesn’t count, but you’d like to see it a little bit different,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘The energy drops and you’re getting toward the end of spring, so it’s hard to have that. We have to find it.’’

The Sox also have been shaky
defensively lately, committing seven
errors in their last three games. They finished last season tied for first in the American League in fielding percentage.

‘‘That’s something that needs to be taken care of before we get out of here,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘Sometimes I think you get close to getting out of here, and some things kind of get pushed aside. We’ll get it taken care of before we leave here.’’

Ventura finally had his Opening Day lineup in place for the game Monday before Rios was scratched.

‘‘I’ll be fine,’’ Rios said. ‘‘I’ve had this before in my career. It’s just normal, regular [stiffness]. I was working out, and it just happened.

‘‘I’ve had this before. I know the feeling, so I don’t think there is anything we have to worry about.’’

Ventura, though, was a bit more concerned.

‘‘He’s telling me not to worry, but I think we’re getting close enough that everything becomes a concern now,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘We’re treating it pretty aggressively and making sure he can get out there [in the
Arizona finale] Wednesday, just so he has a few games before we start.’’

The Sox have two games left in Arizona and two in Milwaukee this weekend in advance of Opening Day on Monday against the Royals.

Asked whether he needs to play in a game before the opener, Rios said: ‘‘I think I’ve got a lot of work done. I probably need to do a little maintenance now and then.’’

The Sox could use some overall maintenence. That said, the importance of spring games can be difficult to gauge, and all that has happened between Feb. 11 and now will be long forgotten by Opening Day.

‘‘It needs to pick up before we start, definitely,’’ Ventura said.

Angels 11, White Sox 5

FOR THE RECORD: The Sox (11-13-3) lost their third consecutive game and, including a tie, have won only once in their last eight games.

ROCKED, STEADY: Right-hander Gavin Floyd was tagged for six runs and 10 hits, including two home runs, in the first three innings, then settled down to pitch four scoreless innings. Floyd gave up 13 hits and seven runs, striking out six and walking one in seven innings.

BATS: Minor-leaguer Tyler Saladino homered, and Alejandro De Aza tripled. Paul Konerko cooled off, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Adam Dunn was 0-for-3 with two K’s and Tyler Flowers 0-for-4 with three K’s. The Angels held out scheduled starter Tommy Hanson for an intrasquad game and used seven pitchers.

OH, MY BACK: Right fielder Alex Rios had an MRI exam on his lower back after missing a third consecutive day with stiffness. Rios said he hopes to play in the Sox’ last game in Arizona on Wednesday against the Indians.

CRAIN’S BUSINESS: Reliever Jesse Crain, testing a strained right adductor and hoping to make the Opening Day roster, was hit hard (four runs, three hits in two-thirds of an inning) but felt good, he said. ‘‘The most important thing was feeling good,’’ said Crain, who threw 25 pitches. ‘‘My leg felt good. There still might be times mentally when I kind of baby it a little bit, but from now on I shouldn’t have to do that.’’

ON DECK: The Sox play the Rangers in Surprise (3:05 p.m., CSN). Left-hander Chris Sale is scheduled to start, but he is expected to pitch only two or three innings in advance of his start on Opening Day.



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