Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jesse Crain's Oblique Is Somewhat Problematic

Lost in all the terrible that was the Sox loss to Oakland on Wednesday was the fact that Jesse Crain was unavailable out of the bullpen because of an oblique injury. Nobody had noticed Crain's injury even though he hadn't pitched since Friday because with Phil Humber's perfect game, Jake Peavy's complete game, and Gavin Floyd pitching so late into Tuesday's game, the White Sox haven't really needed their bullpen much lately.

Then the 14-inning fiasco came on Wednesday.

If there's any good news about Crain's injury, and there really isn't any good news about an oblique injury since they have a tendency to persist, it's that the injury is on his left side this time. The oblique strain Crain -- in Spain falls mostly on the plains -- suffered during the spring was on his right side.

So it's not the same injury, it's only mobilized!

Seriously, though, it could force the White Sox to make a roster move before tomorrow night's game against the Red Sox. Jesse is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Thursday, and how things go in that session will likely determine what move the Sox make next.

If he experiences any trouble on Thursday, I'm not sure the Sox can afford to carry him on the roster if they can't use him, and really these injuries are best treated with rest. So a stint on the disabled list may just be the best thing for Crain and the Sox no matter how tomorrow goes.

As for who would replace him, the Sox do have plenty of options to choose from. Brian Bruney (10 IP, 1.80 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 11K) and Jhan Marinez (9.1 IP, 2.89 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 12 K) have pitched very well down in Charlotte so far this season and both would be options. There's also Dylan Axelrod, but since Axelrod has been working as a starter down in Charlotte, I'm not sure the Sox would want to bring him up and sit in the bullpen without regular work.

If I had to bet on any of those three, I'd lean toward Bruney for no other reason than he has experience in the Majors and the Sox bullpen is young enough as it is. Plus he pitched pretty well this spring for the Sox, and he's continued doing so in Charlotte.

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