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Crain may see increased chances against lefties

ARLINGTON -- The loss of a relief specialist for the White Sox, with Donnie Veal optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday, means a right-handed reliever such as Jesse Crain could get more late-inning work against left-handed hitters.

Crain limited right-handers to a miniscule .129 average against in 2012, but he also held lefties to a .232 average. In 2013, lefties are 6-for-22 against Crain and righties are 6-for-23.

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"I think we are all capable of throwing against lefties," Crain said. "It's always nice to have that extra lefty out there to get hitters here and there, but we are all capable of getting lefties out. I'm comfortable facing either one."

With the extra power shown by Crain on Wednesday night against the Rangers, he should possess that added comfort level. With runners on first and third and one out in the eighth inning of the White Sox 5-2 victory, Crain threw two fastballs at 95 mph and one at 94 mph past Nelson Cruz for a swinging strikeout. Crain feels like his arm "has come around the last few games."

"When I came back from shoulder strain last year [July 21], my velocity was down a little bit. I think it's back at normal now," said Crain, who has not given up a run in his past 10 games. "It just feels pretty good. It's been nice to throw in the warm weather, too.

"You start throwing in the offseason and sometimes you get worried [the velocity] is not going to come back. But it's the same way every year. It takes time. The more you throw, the more you are out there, your arm to a certain extent feels better."

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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