Owens comfortable in return to action

Owens comfortable in return to action

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Jerry Owens got a chance to test his strained groin on Tuesday, and he came out of his test comfortable with how it went.

Sort of, anyway.

"When I have to react -- ball off the bat -- there were a couple of balls I was able to get to," he said. "I didn't think about it and made the play and then throw the ball in, and then I'm thinking, 'OK, it's a little sore.'"

But Owens said the groin did feel strong, and it didn't limit his flexibility.

For him, the good thing was just being able to get back in the White Sox lineup. He's been on the sidelines with the injury since March 4, though he played in a "B" game on Monday. This, however, was his first Cactus League game in more than a week.

He didn't know what to expect from testing his groin.

"I told myself at the beginning of the day, 'Don't think about it and just go out and play,'" Owens said. "So that was my main focus."

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Owens said the inability to play in games hasn't hurt, because he's been doing things with hitting coach Greg Walker. Walker has been trying to simplify Owens' approach at the plate.

Walker's also trying to remind the speedy Owens of the kind of hitter he needs to be. He's not the power hitter that Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome are. Owens doesn't need to be that kind of hitter in order to thrive in the big leagues.

Still, the temptation is there for him.

"I wanna get out there and hit some [homers] myself," he said. "But, you know, that's not helping my game or helping our team at all."

What is helping is getting Owens back into the swing of it all. That happened on Tuesday for Owens, who singled in three at-bats.

"It's always nice to get out there and play again," he said.

Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.