CHICAGO -- For the first time since going on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain retroactive to June 30, White Sox reliever Jesse Crain threw off the mound prior to Tuesday's game with Detroit.
Crain, who was selected as a first-time All-Star by his peers, threw 33 pitches of just fastballs and changeups and said that he felt good after the session. He is scheduled to throw a side session on Thursday, and according to White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, Crain could return to game action as early as Sunday.
"His health is still our foremost thing in our mind to make sure he is well," said Cooper, adding they still have to work in offspeed pitches before Crain's return. "We want to do it to the point where he's maybe a tad fatigued, making sure you've got that good workout in and feel good before, during and after. Now we're waiting on the after, which is tomorrow."
"I'm just taking it day by day," said Crain before the throwing session. "I want to get back so I can get ready for the rest of the season."
There will be no Minor League rehab for Crain, who has a 0.74 ERA over 38 games, with 46 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings. A healthy Crain figures to be one of general manager Rick Hahn's best trade chips as the non-waiver Trade Deadline of July 31 approaches.
Dunn desires to be part of South Side playoff run
CHICAGO -- Tuesday's contest against the Tigers marked Game No. 1,812 of Adam Dunn's 13-year career without experiencing playoff baseball, making him the leading active player in that dubious category.
So the decision would seem to be an easy one for the powerful first baseman/designated hitter, who is hitting .275 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs over June and July, if the White Sox had the opportunity to move Dunn to a playoff contender. But it's not quite as black and white for the 33-year-old, who picked Chicago as his free-agent destination prior to the 2011 season.
"It's something I try to stay out of. I don't have any control over it, but I want to do that here," said Dunn of reaching the playoffs. "That's why I came here. I know everything hasn't worked out like I wanted it to or anyone has.
"But I want to do it here. I'm not looking at it any differently than I would in any other situation. I want to somehow figure this out and turn it around. If it's not this year, then I'm coming in next year with the same expectations."
The 2014 campaign marks the final season of Dunn's four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox. It's uncertain as to who will be a part of that particular squad, with right-handed pitchers Jake Peavy, Matt Lindstrom and Jesse Crain and outfielder Alex Rios all drawing serious interest as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.
Even if the White Sox go into more of a rebuilding mode than reloading, the goal for Dunn remains the same -- to win a championship. It was a disappointment when the White Sox fell short in 2012 after leading the American League Central for 117 days and just as big of a disappointment falling well below expectations this season.
"To me, it's the same feeling," Dunn said. "Again, you can win 120 games and not make it and what's the difference? There's no difference. You had a great 162 games, but that means nothing.
"You are so locked in on that day's game that I don't think about results. But when it comes down to it, that's why you play, that's why you do everything you do to get ready. To not make it, that's, I don't care how good a personal season is or how bad, it doesn't matter. If you don't make the playoffs and give yourself a chance to win a ring, then mission not accomplished."
Sale walks fine line with in-game exchange
CHICAGO -- White Sox left-hander Chris Sale apologized to manager Robin Ventura on Monday night after taking umbrage at being called on to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera in the fifth inning of a 7-3 loss to the Tigers and then expressing his disappointment afterwards.
That disappointment manifested itself in a spirited mound conversation between Sale and White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper when Cooper visited the mound after Sale walked Prince Fielder unintentionally in the following at-bat.
"I was pretty embarrassed with how I reacted to that last night," said Sale. "No matter how confident I am in myself for what I think might be right, at the end of the day, it's his call. And I have to respect that. And learn from my experiences -- good, bad or indifferent -- learn from it and move forward.
"To be honest with you, I didn't even think it was really that big of an issue. But it is what it is. I've got to start learning from every situation. With every bad, you try to take some good out of it and try to learn from the situation."
Sale referred to Ventura and Cooper as just like his family. And the fiercely competitive All-Star knows that arguments within a family rarely break that strong bond completely.
"We're in the middle of a game and want to win, [against] a division rival," Sale said. "You get into the heat of battle sometimes and exchange some words. It's going to take a whole heck of a lot more than an in-game misunderstanding to throw us off track. We've cleared the air and we're moving forward from it and brushing it under the rug."
"I get where he's at," Ventura said. "I get the emotions of him being a pitcher and what he means, but he has to understand my job and being in my seat what I have to do."
Ventura has had those same sorts of conversations with his kids about who's in charge, but added with a laugh "not about pitching, no."
Dunn: Braun's suspension shows program working
CHICAGO -- Ryan Braun's suspension for the remainder of the 2013 season, including the postseason, for violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and questions to current players about the situation stand as anything but an embarrassment for the game, according to Adam Dunn. It actually shows great progress.
"The Players Association and the league are catching people and doing what they set out to do, and if you cheat, you're going to get caught," the White Sox slugger said. "I think the embarrassment lies with the player. I can't imagine. I don't think I'd leave my house.
"I've known Brauny a long time, but how dumb can you be? It's a shame because he's one of the best out there."
Manager Robin Ventura called the suspension disappointing and suggested that if you do something like that, odds are you will get caught.
"You know with MLB and their testing it's getting better," Ventura said. "It's getting better from when I played to where it is today."
"It's proof the system we have in place is working," Dunn said. "You're missing significant time and significant pay and plus your name is smeared all over everywhere. I don't know how much worse it could be."
Third to first
• Gordon Beckham and his sore left wrist were out of action again on Tuesday, and Ventura said it would be another few days before the team would decide whether to put him on the disabled list. He quipped that third-base coach Joe McEwing might currently be the backup shortstop behind Alexei Ramirez.
"I mean, Gordon can probably go out there if you need him to do so," Ventura said. "But this is more about getting him completely healthy."
• The White Sox senior RBI team defeated Milwaukee RBI, 5-4, on Monday to win its second straight Central Region Tournament championship. White Sox RBI has advanced to the World Series at Target Field in Minneapolis from Aug. 3-8. The White Sox junior RBI team lost, 5-4, to the Cubs RBI in the finals.
• Tuesday marked the four-year anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game against Tampa Bay at U.S. Cellular Field.