CLEVELAND -- Jesse Crain passed his final bullpen test before Wednesday's contest with the Indians, leaving the right-handed reliever to push his recovering strained left oblique in a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte starting Friday.
"This is the first day I didn't feel it letting it go in the 'pen," Crain said. "I'm ready for a game."
Crain threw approximately 25 pitches, took a three-minute break and then went out and threw another 15. He threw all of his pitches and let it go at full force, lining him for Friday and Sunday appearances with the Knights, before hopefully returning to the White Sox on Monday.
There's the added bonus for Crain that he'll probably get his one inning of work Friday as the Charlotte starter.
"First time in my career I got to do that," said a smiling Crain of starting. "Obviously the biggest thing is making sure [the injury] doesn't happen again. You know I felt good even after I came back after Spring Training, only getting a few innings there. I felt like I was in a groove and my mechanics were there and I felt good throwing the ball.
"Even today, I felt like I was in command and had command of all my pitches. It's a good thing. Now it's getting the adrenaline going and getting into game action. You go a little harder, no matter what. I think I'm ready to do that and get back up here and help the team."
White Sox not playing tight in tight ballgames
CLEVELAND -- The last seven White Sox games prior to Wednesday's 8-1 victory over the Indians all had been decided by two runs or fewer.
Their record of 2-5 during those seven games certainly wouldn't be considered optimum, but playing so many tight contests could help the White Sox, if they get into a contending situation where every inning could decide the team's fate. If nothing else, the White Sox are confident they are close if not quite there in terms of becoming a solid team.
"It's almost like you get used to them," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, whose team has had one game decided by more than three runs since April 27. "Some teams, close games, you don't know how to react.
"Last night, that's what made it a nice win. We've been close. Sometimes we get the tying or winning run on and sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't happen. When it does, it gives you that momentum to realize you can do it a lot."
During Tuesday's 5-3 victory in 10 innings, the White Sox watched a 3-0 lead evaporate in the eighth inning and were one hit away in the ninth from losing in the opposition's final at-bats for the third time in this seven-game road trip. Instead, the White Sox prevented the Indians from going ahead and pushed across two in the 10th.
They haven't found a way to consistently win these contests. But they've played enough tight finishes to not carry the bad over into the next day. It's all about that day's competition for Ventura's crew.
"Momentum or the lead swings fairly quickly in close games," Ventura said. "With that, and taking it day to day, the ones you lose you don't really take with you into the next day.
"These guys are learning how to take the good stuff with it, showing up every day with that feeling you're going to win that day. That's what they've come with, which is what you are striving to get first and then get the results."
Humber looking to get back to basics
CLEVELAND -- It wasn't finding a flaw in delivery mechanics on video that has Philip Humber upbeat for his next start this weekend at home against the Royals.
Instead, it was a quote about Tiger Woods' struggles that struck home for the right-hander in regard to getting himself out of this post-perfect-game rut, during which he has allowed 20 earned runs on 21 hits over 13 1/3 innings, covering three starts.
"People were talking about [Woods] and Butch Harmon, his old teacher, said it looks like he's playing golf swing, and not golf," said Humber, recounting the quote. "So you start thinking so much about what you are doing instead of the goal, you get off track.
"Sometimes you start thinking too much, trying to figure something out rather than just keeping it real simple. I need to just focus on driving the ball toward the glove."
After getting lit up for eight runs on nine hits over 2 1/3 innings in Monday afternoon's 8-6 loss to the Indians, Humber heard from his teammates that he didn't look like himself on the mound. He couldn't pinpoint an explanation for those comments, but returning to the basics could make a difference.
"Now I'm really excited to get back out there and get back in that mindset of competing and attacking the strike zone and just being me," Humber said. "And having fun, rather than thinking so much about, 'Where's my release point?' and 'Where's this and that?' Just keeping it simple and having fun."
Third to first
Third baseman Brent Morel was scratched from Wednesday's starting lineup with a sore lower back. He was replaced by Eduardo Escobar.
Although Robin Ventura wouldn't quite make it official, Eric Stults looks to be the Saturday starter for the White Sox against the Royals and Philip Humber will start Sunday. Adam Dunn has at least one strikeout in 36 straight games, leaving him one game short of tying Bill Stoneman's record set since 1918. Stoneman fanned in 37 straight played from April 30, 1971, to April 21, 1972. Alexei Ramirez had three hits in Wednesday's 8-1 victory over the Indians, giving him three hits in a game for the first time since Sept. 16, 2011, at Kansas City.