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White Sox’ Alexei Ramirez has bruised shoulder after being hit by pitch

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The last thing the White Sox wanted to see on the last day of spring training was a player go down, so with shortstop Alexei Ramirez face down in the batter’s box after getting hit by a pitch from Daisuke Matsuzaka, manager Robin Ventura flinched.

“Anytime you get one of those, especially the last days of spring, it makes you think and make sure everyone gets out here feeling good,’’ Ventura said.

Ramirez was hit on the inside of his upper biceps and shoulder. He has a bruise and is day-to-day but indicated afterward that his range of motion was limited. Holding his arm parallel to the ground, Ramirez said he couldn’t raise it any higher.

The good news is Opening Day was five days away. The bad news is Alex Rios (stiff back) and Jesse Crain (adductor) are also dealing with health issues.

“We’ll see how he feels; they did an X-ray, and he’s fine,’’ Ventura said. “He’s had enough at-bats. I don’t worry about that with him. It’s more how he’s feeling.”

Rios update

Rios said he expects to play in one of the exhibitions in Milwaukee on Friday or Saturday, but it’s hard to get a read from him.

He missed his fifth consecutive game with a stiff lower back. After saying he “definitely” would play against the Brewers, he said “probably.’’

Definitely, probably?

“That’s a good one, yeah,’’ Rios said. “I cover everything when I say that.’’

Rios said the back felt looser Wednesday.

“It’s one where it hurts, hurts, hurts and suddenly stops,’’ he said. “It doesn’t go away gradually. It’s weird, but I’ll be fine.’’

Ventura said he would have to play in Milwaukee to be ready for the opener.

Crain pain-free

Crain gave up two runs and three hits in one inning against the Indians but said he felt good. If he goes on the disabled list, there’s no retroactive date, so he’d be out two weeks, which is longer than he needs, Crain said.

“I definitely took a step forward today and am getting closer and closer,’’ Crain said. “Another outing Friday [in Milwaukee], and hopefully that one is all-around clean, health-wise most importantly, but also showing some results. I’ll pitch differently.’’

A-rod dreaming

As a guy who has been up and down between the Sox and Class AAA the last two seasons, and in 2009 was pitching for the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Independent League, Dylan Axelrod enjoyed the moment Wednesday.

On the last day of camp, cameras and microphones captured his reaction to being officially named the team’s fifth starter to open the season.

“It’s a great feeling,’’ Axelrod said. “I’ve been working toward this for a long time. It’s been a dream of mine to be a starting pitcher in the major leagues. So I’m getting a great opportunity, obviously. I’m going to try to run with it.’’



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