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Some relief: Jesse Crain throws on the side

Jesse CraWhite Sox pitches seventh inning U.S. Cellular Field Wednesday Sept. 14 2011 Chicago. The White Sox lost 6-5 10

Jesse Crain of the White Sox pitches in the seventh inning at U.S. Cellular Field Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, in Chicago. The White Sox lost 6-5 in 10 innings. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: April 23, 2012 11:47AM



PEORIA, Ariz. — Trainer Herm Schneider said one thing, but right-hander Jesse Crain’s body language said another. Until Crain finally stood on a mound and pitched on the side Wednesday.

“I just didn’t know,’’ Crain said.

If a slightly strained right oblique muscle lingers much longer, Crain — a key piece to a bullpen that already has holes to fill after losing Sergio Santos and Chris Sale from last season’s pen — might not open the season with the White Sox. By doing more than playing catch, Crain finally had hope, calling it “a big step forward, especially coming from where it was at.’’

Schneider has been telling manager Robin Ventura not to worry. Ventura can worry a little less knowing Crain made 20 throws from in front of a mound before making 12 pitches on it. He threw all of his pitches, but not at 100 percent.

Crain hopes to throw an extensive bullpen session on Friday.

“I imagine we will throw a real hard pen, and if all goes well there, hopefully I’ll be ready for a game,’’ he said.

“I think it’s something that day by day, it will get better.’’

Danks goes six

Because the Sox play the Mariners in Seattle on April 20-22, likely Opening Day starter John Danks pitched in a minor-league game instead of facing the Mariners. He threw 96 pitches over six innings, allowing four runs (three earned), six hits and one walk. He struck out seven.

“It was tough, but it was good,’’ Danks said of his first extended outing. His last two have been much better than the first two. Facing prospects, he experimented more than usual.

“I’m getting there,’’ he said. “I’m not where I need to be, a lot closer than I was a couple of weeks ago. I’m on pace. I think I’ll be ready. It was a good day today.’’

Jake Peavy, who was scheduled to face the Royals on Thursday, will steer clear of the American League Central rivals and face Rangers minor-leaguers.

Zach Stewart will start against the Royals.

Viciedo scratched

A tooth problem caused Dayan Viciedo to be a late scratch from the lineup. Adam Dunn got his first spring action in left field, catching a routine fly for the first out.

Of more significance, Dunn lined a single to right, walked and hit into a double play against Felix Hernandez and said his neck is OK.

“I’m seeing the ball really good,’’ said Dunn, batting .280 with eight walks and one strikeout this spring. “There are some balls I should have hit hard but didn’t. But as long as I keep seeing it, that’s all I care about.’’

Doyle returns

Right-handed pitching prospect Terry Doyle, whom the Sox lost to the Twins in the Rule 5 draft after an impressive showing in the Arizona Fall League, was returned to the Sox and will report to Class AAA Charlotte.



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