Crain progressing toward live batting practice

Crain progressing toward live batting practice

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jesse Crain is scheduled to throw his third bullpen session of the week on Friday, marking his seventh time working off the mound since the start of Spring Training. If all goes well, the veteran right-handed reliever believes the next step becomes live batting practice next week.

"It's exciting and I've been feeling really well, but in the meantime, I'm not going to get too high until I get out there," said Crain, who last pitched in a big league game for the 2013 White Sox and has been recovering from a right shoulder injury. "When I face hitters, it will be a good test, because I'll be letting it go even more than I have. I'll wait to get too excited until I know exactly how I feel.

"Everything is just kind of in pencil right now. We'll see how things go and move on from there."

Crain, 33, understands there will be a few live batting-practice sessions before moving on to that next step. But if this progress continues, and remember Crain already has thrown off the mound as much as he did all of last year, he's hoping to get into an actual game before Spring Training ends.

"We still have a month left, pretty much a month from now," Crain said. "Even after two weeks of throwing to hitters, we still have two weeks left of camp. I'm not going to put any timetables on anything. But if I keep progressing like I am, there's a good chance I can hopefully get into a couple or few games.

"The key is taking it slow. Taking my time to get to the point where I'm ready, and get ready to pitch in the season."

Chris Sale threw a little against the wall Wednesday but nothing close to being off the mound, per manager Robin Ventura. Sale is expected to be away from baseball activities until March 21 with an avulsion fracture in his right foot.

"Light stuff. The ball bounced back to him and things like that," said Ventura of Sale. "[White Sox trainer Herm Schneider] has got him on a program. He's kind of off my radar now until he gets a little closer."

Paul Konerko celebrated his 39th birthday Thursday. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award Wednesday in Chicago during the 27th Annual Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards and has been enjoying his family and even a little hockey in his retirement.

"I had lunch with him a month or so ago, and he's like a different guy. He's just so relaxed. He was so relaxed," said White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf of the White Sox captain and team mainstay for 16 years. "It was great that he got to go out on his own terms."

Tyler Danish, the seventh-ranked White Sox prospect per MLB.com, chalks up his rough Cactus League debut Wednesday to a case of big league nerves. But after loading the bases with nobody out on an Alex Guerrero single and two walks, Danish induced a Kyle Jensen double-play grounder and escaped the jam after allowing just one run.

"I got quick, and when I get quick, I get down and lose my angle, and that's what happened," Danish said. "I'll learn from it and go from there.

"The biggest thing for me is damage control. I could have easily given up a four- or five-spot. So it was huge. It was a big confidence builder. I can use my regular stuff and get out of things."

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.