Owens feels good after game action

Owens feels good after game action

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Jerry Owens didn't play in either the White Sox Cactus League game on Monday in Maryvale or any of the Minor League contests scheduled back in Tucson.

That lack of activity didn't matter to Owens. Testing his sore right groin during Sunday's loss to Arizona and then the injury's positive response early on Monday morning told the potential White Sox leadoff man all he needed to know.

"I was just thinking about that," said Owens with a laugh. "It's funny you say that because the last week, I go to sleep feeling good, but wake up in the morning and wonder where it's at. I didn't even think about it this morning.

"It felt great. I was curious how it would be with the weather, especially when I slipped in that first inning awkwardly, but I was pretty happy with how I played [Sunday]."

Owens played in his first Cactus League game since last Tuesday in Surprise, knocking out three hits Sunday in five at-bats and raising his average to .429 for the spring. Owens ripped a shot into the left-center gap off Dan Haren in the fifth and easily turned it into a triple, scoring on an error one batter later.

As Owens mentioned, he also slipped going after Chris Young's double in the first but came away with no further groin damage.

"Yesterday was a big step," Owens said. "Playing almost the whole game, getting a lot of at-bats. I'm really excited. I can get back to focusing on baseball and trusting the fact that I'm healthy."

A healthy Owens certainly figures to start the 2008 season in some form as part of the White Sox 25-man roster. With Owens' injury, though, Brian Anderson has run with the chance and crept into the outfield picture through a solid Spring Training effort.

That rise from Anderson could possibly lead to a platoon situation with Owens. Then again, there's little doubt the White Sox lineup would operate at its best with a fleet-footed hitter at the top in Owens.

"Of course I want the job," Owens said. "I want to be playing every day, but at the same time, I want to help the Chicago White Sox win, however that may be. I feel like the best chance of that is me in the lineup every day, but at the same time they have their plans, their ideas.

"They are the experts. I'm just trying to go out and play. I'll let them figure all that stuff out, and not worry about it."

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