CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox lost a solid trade option when reliever Jesse Crain suffered a setback in his rehab from elbow soreness that has had him on the disabled list since July 3.
Crain threw a bullpen session earlier in the week and said Wednesday later that he only felt “OK” after the throwing session. He played long toss before Thursday’s afternoon game as a precursor to another bullpen session but shut things down with more discomfort.
Crain was aiming for a comeback early next week, but the setback figures to prevent a return before the Wednesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
“I guess I would call it a slight setback because we had a sideline the other day and we were hoping to climb from there and he just wasn’t feeling up to it,” pitching coach Don Cooper said. “You move forward and he goes back in and talks to (the medical staff) and talks to our people and figure out what’s the plan now for him. I’m not sure what that plan is but right now it’s not throwing sidelines.”
Crain doesn’t know what to expect from the injury moving forward, despite the fact that he has had the same issue two other times in his career.
“I felt improvement before I threw my bullpen, and after the bullpen I don’t know,” Crain said. “It definitely wasn’t better today. I don’t know. It’s day by day. I don’t know how it’s going to feel the next day.”
If Crain can get back on the field in August, the White Sox can still deal him to a contender, they just might not has as much trade leverage. Crain will first have to go through trade waivers and if he is healthy he likely will be claimed.
If he is claimed, the White Sox will only be able to work out a trade with the claiming team, giving them less options for a deal.
The best option for the White Sox could be to put Crain through trade waivers immediately in August when he is still on the disabled list and hope he goes unclaimed because he is hurt. If he gets through unclaimed, the White Sox would be open to dealing him to all teams before the end of August.
“The first thing on our mind is to keep him healthy,” Cooper said. “It’s disappointing for him and for us not to have him. That’s a big hole on our team in that seventh and eighth inning in the role he was filling so well. He just needs more time. It didn’t happen today.”