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Crain positive after return to game action

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Looking solely at the results from Jesse Crain's ninth inning of work Monday against the Angels at Camelback Ranch, it would be easy to think the right-hander wasn't overly satisfied with his performance.

Crain allowed three earned runs (four total) on three hits over two-thirds of an inning during the Angels' 11-5 victory. But being that it was Crain's first Cactus League appearance since Feb. 25 and his sore right adductor muscle came through the 25-pitch outing without a hitch, it was actually a positive.

"No matter what anybody says, you never want to go out there and give up hits," Crain said. "The most important thing today was feeling good and I threw, [manager Robin Ventura] came out after 25 pitches and I felt fine.

"My leg felt good. There still might be times mentally where I kind of baby it a little bit, but from now on I shouldn't have to do that because I feel good."

After throwing that one inning against the Giants one month ago, Crain has been sidelined by that slight adductor strain. It was just five days ago when Crain looked as if he was headed to the disabled list to start the season, but a strong Saturday outing in a Minor League game gave him hope.

Now trips to the mound on Wednesday to conclude Cactus League play and then during exhibition action this weekend in Milwaukee will serve as the deciding factors for Crain. Ventura said postgame Monday that the White Sox won't decide on Crain's status until this weekend and will bring extra players, such as relievers Brian Omogrosso and Ramon Troncoso, just in case Crain doesn't make the opening cut.

"If it goes like today as in health-wise, then I'm not worried about a thing," Crain said. "It's all going to come pitch-wise and crispness. I think my velocity was decent and I even feel like I had a little more in the tank the next couple of times out."

"Wednesday's going to be a big one for Jesse," said Ventura. "Bouncing back after throwing today, to see how he feels and how he's throwing, will be a better idea of how he's going to do. It's just one of those he got work. I don't think velocity-wise he was letting go, but he says he feels good."

Against the Angels, Crain walked Efren Navarro on five pitches and after a diving stop by first baseman Josh Bell on Hank Conger's grounder gave him one out, Luis Rodriguez's double on a 3-2 pitch scored Navarro. Trent Oeltjen tripled, before Kole Calhoun became Crain's only strikeout.

A chance exists that Crain could feel good over his next two appearances and still not break camp with the team if the White Sox don't deem him ready. Crain isn't giving much thought to that scenario.

"I hope if I feel good everything else will come along with it," Crain said. "I feel like when I'm healthy, then I don't have to think about my leg and then everything else comes with the territory."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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