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Jesse Crain’s injury means Sox considering Omogrosso, Troncoso

Brian Omogrosso

Brian Omogrosso

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Updated: April 23, 2013 2:30PM



GLENDALE, Ariz. — Right-handers Brian Omogrosso and Ramon Troncoso, come on down.

An Opening Day roster spot likely will be open for one of them because White Sox reliever Jesse Crain’s right adductor (groin) isn’t getting better. Crain pitched in a minor-league game Wednesday, battled through it and left the Sox’ spring-training complex without talking to reporters. He returned Thursday morning to share disappointing news.

‘‘It got tight and ended up being swollen,’’ he said.

After battling through oblique and shoulder injuries last season, the last thing Crain wants is more frustration.

‘‘I threw about 10 to 12 more pitches, flipping it in there,’’ he said. ‘‘From the first 10 pitches to the last, there’s a pretty big difference of velocity. Hopefully it’s part of the process of getting it stronger.’’

The Sox need this important piece functioning properly in a bullpen they consider to be one of their strengths. But Crain has pitched in one exhibition game because of the injury, which flared up three weeks ago. He had been encouraged after his previous outing.

Then came Wednesday’s development.

‘‘As of right now, [the discomfort] is still there,’’ he said.

Manager Robin Ventura is expecting Crain to start the season on the disabled list. That brings to two the number of pitchers the Sox won’t have to start the season. They decided Wednesday to have John Danks work in minor-league games and open the season on the DL. Danks had shoulder surgery in August and needs time to build arm strength.

But back to Thursday’s issue — the bullpen: Troncoso, 30, was signed as a free agent in November. He brings an 8-8 record and 3.92 ERA over 175 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers but spent all of last season in the minors. In 2009, he made 73 appearances and logged a 2.72 ERA for a team that made the postseason.

A variety of challenges mounted after he pitched in 16 of the Dodgers’ first 24 games in 2010. He struggled after that, got sent to Class AAA Albuquerque in 2011 and spent all of 2012 there.

There was one more downer to deal with after that. Pitching in a winter ball game in the Dominican Republic, he was struck on the side of his mouth by a batted ball and lost four teeth.

This spring, Troncoso leads the Cactus League in 10 appearances and has a 1.69 ERA.

Omogrosso hasn’t allowed an earned run in eight appearances. He and Troncoso are decent options, but neither is a proven commodity like Crain.

‘‘We have guys that were with us last year who actually filled in for Jesse last year,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘There are options, and we have a few days to kind of figure that out and get them some work, move them around and do all that stuff.’’

Crain said the groin feels all right until he tries to go at 100 percent in game situations. It’s something the Sox don’t want to linger for long.

‘‘Flat ground and the pen, for the most part, is good,’’ he said. ‘‘At least yesterday it was. Until I get out there in the game and 100 percent trying to throw, it’s hard to re-enact that motion, so only way I can test it is when I do that. Now I’ll try to give it a rest a day or two and then go at it again and see if it can last longer, at least.’’

SOX 8, BREWERS 3

FOR THE RECORD:The Sox snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 11-10-3 as Chris Sale pitched seven innings, allowing four hits. Sale gave up two solo homers, including an inside-the-parker to Ryan Braun in the first.

At bat: Jeff Keppinger walked and had two more hits, including a homer, and is 18-for-31 this spring. Oddly enough, the RBI was Keppinger’s first. Gordon Beckham hit his third homer of the spring.

They’re back: Alex Rios and Alejandro De Aza returned from playing in the World Baseball Classic and contributed nicely. Rios hit two doubles and drove in two runs, and De Aza also had two hits, including a double. Dayan Viciedo was back in the lineup after a day out with a sore quadriceps.

They’re gone: Outfielders Jordan Danks and Blake Tekotte were optioned to Class AAA Charlotte. Danks finished strong after a horrible start, batting .371 with two homers, five doubles and nine RBI. Tekotte batted .200 with four RBI.

Wrapping it up: Closer Addison Reed pitched a scoreless eighth and Matt Thornton a scoreless ninth. Relievers Matt Lindstrom (two innings) and Nate Jones (one) got their work in a minor-league game.

On deck: The Sox play under the lights for the first time Friday in Phoenix against the Oakland Athletics (9:05, CSN). Jose Quintana starts against Jarrod Parker.



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