Jesse Crain’s return, trade status unclear
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com July 20, 2013 1:30AM
Alex Rios cost the Sox a run in the fifth inning when he failed to run hard to avoid an inning-ending double play. | Getty Images
Updated: August 21, 2013 6:18AM
Jesse Crain threw off a mound Friday for the first time in a week, but a timetable for the rehabbing reliever remains unclear.
So does his trade status.
Crain spent most of the week in New York as a member of the American League All-Star team, though he couldn’t pitch. He plans to throw every day as he recovers from a strained right shoulder. But the process will be day-to-day, he said.
‘‘I think I felt better [Friday] than I did all last week,’’ Crain said. ‘‘Hopefully, that’s a step forward.’’
Manager Robin Ventura said Crain almost certainly would need to pitch in at least one minor-league game before being activated.
‘‘That’s up to those [management] guys,’’ Crain said. ‘‘Obviously, they want me healthy and to be back out there. If it’s something they want me to do, I will.’’
His status as the July 31 trade deadline nears could be significant for the team as well as Crain.
‘‘I don’t know what direction they’re going to go,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m not sure if they’re going to sell some guys off in trades. I can’t say that. Obviously, if we’re all healthy, that’s good for a team, but how many people will be here, I don’t know.
‘‘Hopefully, [breaking up the team] is something they don’t do. It’s a good group of guys in here, guys who are capable of playing very well. Hopefully, we play like that in the second half.’’
The White Sox’ newest marketing campaign is built around two-time All-Star Chris Sale as the team tries to keep attendance from waning in the second half.
‘‘It’s fine with me,’’ Ventura said of promoting one player. ‘‘You’re seeing a special pitcher. Whether it’s something you want to come out and see, that’s [fans’] business. But I think it’s fine. I think it’s great for them to promote him. Other teams do it. For us to do it, if I was picking somebody, it’d probably be him.’’
The Sox began the second half Friday with their worst winning percentage (.402) since 1989, when they were at .364 with a 32-56 mark.
Ventura’s hope is for ‘‘cleaner’’ play in the second half.
‘‘You just start over again,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘You can kind of cleanse yourself of whatever the bad things [were] that have happened. You just start over again.
‘‘You want to win games and, again, just clean it up. Defensively, [the first half] wasn’t good. Baserunning wasn’t good, so that’s stuff you want to clean up.’
Paul Konerko went 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI as the designated hitter in his first rehab appearance for Class AA Birmingham.
‘‘He said he felt fine,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘You go from there. I saw him in Philadelphia. He said he was feeling pretty good. Again, it’s one of those you find out more when he gets back.’’
The Sox have scheduled Sept. 23 for the makeup of their rained-out game June 12 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The 7:10 p.m. game will air on Comcast SportsNet.