Podsednik returns, Crede to go on DL

Podsednik returns, Crede to go on DL

ARLINGTON -- One key cog in the White Sox offense returned for Monday's series opener in Texas, as Scott Podsednik was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game.

But the American League Central leaders temporarily will lose one of their defensive anchors, as third baseman Joe Crede is scheduled to take Podsednik's place on the disabled list prior to the start of Tuesday's doubleheader. The hairline fracture of Crede's right middle finger, suffered Thursday in a bunt attempt at Minnesota, has improved, but it still caused Crede enough problems on offense and defense for the White Sox to make the move.

Crede told general manager Ken Williams and athletic trainer Herm Schneider on Monday that he was favoring his finger on the swing, hitting more one-handed, and he felt a little bit of pain when throwing the ball.

"Rather than let this thing drag on day to day and potentially make it worse, let's shut him down now so we can be at full strength toward the end of the season," Williams said. "We just think that's the most prudent course of action.

"It's similar thinking along the lines of what we did with Podsednik," Williams added of Crede, who is hitless in his last 21 at-bats and has five hits in his last 55 at-bats.

Utility infielder Willie Harris will replace Crede on the roster, bringing a .267 average and 10 stolen bases from Triple-A Charlotte. He joins Geoff Blum and Pablo Ozuna in trying to plug the infield gap.

Harris teamed with Podsednik for two weekend games with the Knights, as the White Sox leadoff man went on a Minor League rehab assignment to test his strained left adductor. Podsednik termed the two-day excursion as a valuable experience, and it had nothing really to do with his two hits in nine at-bats or his outfield assist against Norfolk, throwing out a runner trying to go from first to third.

The fleet-footed left-handed hitter simply wanted to get a gauge as to where he stood after not seeing live pitching since a contest at Fenway Park on Aug. 12. The White Sox posted a 5-8 record without Podsednik's services.

So, how have things changes for Podsednik, after the strained left adductor muscle contributed to him being thrown out in nine of his last 13 stolen-base attempts before the trip to the disabled list? He's much improved following the rest, according to the native of West, Texas.

"I'm pretty close. I'm not 100 percent, but you really don't know until you get out there on the basepaths and really go at it," said Podsednik, who still leads the Majors with 54 stolen bases. "That's the only way of testing it. I don't think mentally I have anything holding me back. I'm going to go up there and play my game.

"We got a chance to test it and see where we stand. I got to see some live pitching, which I hadn't done in 14 or 15 days. All and all, it was a good trip down there to gauge where we were."

Brian Anderson was sent back to Charlotte to make room for Podsednik, who said his current state might be the healthiest he has felt since the All-Star break. Podsednik mentioned the injury took place during a June 29 game at Comerica Park, when he was chasing down a baseball in center field against the Tigers.

Manager Ozzie Guillen chooses to periodically rest his starters, in order to keep them fresh for September and the postseason. But a healthy Podsednik expects a very busy final month of the 2005 season.

"I knew in my mind that I had some problems down there," said Podsednik of playing with pain. "It was tough. It would be the same situation for a pitcher dealing with a bum shoulder or a biceps tendon.

"My legs are my game, and if I can't go out and run to steal a base, or run down a ball in the outfield, I'm really no good. The 15 days helped. I feel like I can get back and pick up where I left off.

"As long I stick with my maintenance in keeping this thing strong, I don't foresee any more problems," Podsednik added. "I feel like I'm ready to go."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.