Tag:Jesse Crain
Posted on: March 21, 2011 2:51 pm

Crain lands with Sox, learns Konerko no jerk

PHOENIX -- From inside of the White Sox clubhouse, things look a whole lot different to reliever Jesse Crain than they did from the outside the past few seasons.

"Things are going great," Crain says. "I'm getting along with the guys real well. They have a great bunch of guys here.

"You never look at it that way from the other side. You think they're a bunch of jerks."

When you cross the Great Divide in a bitter rivalry, sometimes that happens.

Crain spent the past seven seasons working on the other side of the AL Central, in the Minnesota Twins' bullpen.

Now with the White Sox, some of the right-hander's perceptions are changing.

"Because of the rivalry, I never really knew anybody over here," Crain says. "We didn't really talk before games. Usually, with every team you know a couple of guys. But not with these guys. The only guy I kind of knew was Mark Teahen, because I played on Team Canada with him."

So. From the Twins' side, which White Sox did Crain view as perhaps the biggest jerk (or two)?

"I thought Paul Konerko was, for some reason," Crain says. "And we all know about A.J. Pierzynski."

Crain and Pierzynski, though, have one thing in common: They each cut their teeth in the Twins' organization.

But Konerko as a jerk? Really? He's considered as one of the game's class acts.

"I don't even know why I thought that about Paulie," Crain says. "I never got to first base, of course, so I never talked to him there. I was always facing him, and I'd see him get mad when things didn't go well at the plate.

"But this guy's a ballplayer. He's tough. He's soft spoken. He's the Captain.

"I think [learning that Konerko is not a jerk] has been my biggest shock. I haven't even told him that yet."

No need anymore, Jesse. Allow us to take care of that right now.

Posted on: March 21, 2011 2:39 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 11:01 pm

Stuff my editors whacked from the column

PHOENIX -- Outtakes from the Wonderful World of Oz(zie Guillen) and the White Sox Camp:

-- Catcher A.J. Pierzynski breaks down four strong arms that should give opponents late-inning fits this summer:

On lefty Matt Thornton: "Easy gas. He throws the easiest 97, 98 m.p.h. there is. It's amazing how he can have that motion, and then all of a sudden 97, 98 comes out of it."

On lefty Chris Sale: "Amazing. As skinny as he is, with such a slight frame, to do what he's done in less than a year is incredible."

On righty Sergio Santos: "Great story, switching positions (from shortstop to pitcher). He's got a full year in the bigs now, and his stuff translates. It's a great story. I remember watching Sergio Santos when he was a shortstop and they had him throw in the bullpen. We all watched because we knew about his arm strength. I was like, 'I wish I had his arm. I'd be a pitcher.'"

On righty Jesse Crain: "Thank God he's not on the Twins anymore. Him and Matt Guerrier killed us. It seemed like they pitched every game against us. He's bigger than I thought. His stuff is good and he goes about his job the way you should. It's a testament to his coming up with the Twins."

On lefty Will Ohman: "I haven't seen him pitch yet this spring, but he knows what it takes and he's got a great track record against left-handers. He can throw every day. It'll be interesting to see how Coop [pitching coach Don Cooper] and Ozzie [Guillen, manager] manage the left-handers."

-- Mark Teahen, in Year Two of a three-year, $14 million deal, is having a scorching spring (10 for 26, one homer). But there appears to be no room for him the lineup: The Sox really like Brent Morel, and Guillen has informed the kid that he's won the third base job.

"If Morel is on the club, he has to play every day," Guillen told me earlier this week.

So, where does that leave Teahen? As a bat off the bench to provide depth? On the trading block? It would be a tough contract to trade.

As for Morel, the Sox's lineup is strong enough that he should be fairly well shielded. Their expectation isn't gaudy numbers. It's that he simply battles each at-bat, handles himself well and shows some progress. As long as he does that and catches balls at third base, the Sox will be happy.

Sunblock Day? Gray skies for the first time in three weeks in Arizona. Temps in the low 60s. Brrrr.

Likes: Great vibe in the White Sox clubhouse this spring. This is a team that knows it is good. Very good. ... Ozzie Guillen's coaching staff is underrated. Very high on pitching coach Don Cooper and hitting coach Greg Walker. ... The Pinenut sea bass topped with an orange sauce that was a bit sweet and a bit spicy at Rokerij in Phoenix the other night with the chile potato and the prickly pear margarita. Outstanding. ... Warren Zevon's Mr. Bad Example. ... A big good luck to the Falcons of Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central High in their state quarterfinal game against undefeated Schoolcraft High on Tuesday night in the Michigan High School Boys' Basketball Tournament. It's been an extraordinary athletic year for that fine school, and here's hoping the Falcons extend their season.

Dislikes: Twice in recent days a motorcycle rider has passed me on the freeway without wearing a helmet. I know Arizona's got other issues, but this state needs to pass a law requiring cycle riders to wear helmets. That, or the riders need to smarten up. Last thing I want to see is a wreck on the freeway where some motorcycle rider's head explodes like a pumpkin.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now, one and one is two, two and two is four
"I'm heavy loaded baby, I'm booked, I gotta go
"Cryin' baby, honey, don't you want to go
"Back to the same old place, my sweet home Chicago"

-- Robert Johnson, Sweet Home Chicago


Posted on: December 7, 2010 3:53 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 4:42 pm

Crain, others looking for Benoit deal

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Everyone is trolling the lobby for pitchers, and this side of Cliff Lee, what most teams want is bullpen help.

So why, then, has only one reliever signed with a new team on the free agent market so far?

Look no further than Detroit, where the Tigers signed free agent set-up man Joaquin Benoit to a three-year, $16.5 million deal earlier this winter.

The Benoit signing has put visions of sugar plums (and multi-millions) into the heads of middle relievers throughout the game.

And not all executives are ready to concede that type of contract to guys who will pitch the sixth, seventh or eighth innings for them.

"No way in hell am I going to pay a guy like that $5 million a year," one NL general manager said.

Among the dozens of relievers still on the market is Jesse Crain, who pitched very well out of the Minnesota bullpen for the past several seasons -- and sources say he's among a handful of relievers right now is targeting a contract similar to the one Benoit got from Detroit.

Aside from Benoit, only two relievers have signed so far this winter: Closer Mariano Rivera re-signed with the Yankees for two years and $30 million, and middle man Jose Contreras re-signed with Philadelphia for two years and $5.5 million.

Posted on: August 25, 2008 9:28 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2008 1:28 pm

Everyday Eddie: The Minnesota Sequel

He's no longer Everyday Eddie. That disappeared with the Tommy John ligament transfer surgery and subsequent rehabilitation.

But Eddie Guardado is recovered and has been productive in the Texas bullpen, and his homecoming to Minnesota can only help the Twins as they sprint through these final 30-some games to keep pace with the Chicago White Sox.

The Twins re-acquired their former closer on Monday, and the fact that it came one day after their bullpen melted down in a 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels was no coincidence.

Closer Joe Nathan is nails but, lately, set-up men Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier and Dennys Reyes have been showing some wear.

Overall, the Twins' bullpen ranks eighth in the AL with a 3.95 ERA, and its bend-but-don't-break nature was stretched to the max over the weekend. They easily could have swept the four-game series from the Angels and, at the very least should have won three of four.

Guardado, 37, isn't the menacing closer he was in his last incarnation with the Twins, when he collected 116 of his career 187 saves. He was, though, 3-3 with a 3.65 ERA in 49 1/3 innings for the Rangers. And opponents are only batting .220 against him.

"He gets guys out," one American League scout said Monday. "If you were at a high school game and saw him, you wouldn't look at him first, second or third. But he throws strikes, and he gets guys out."

Overall, the Twins rank seventh in the AL with a 4.16 ERA, while the White Sox are fourth at 3.85. Chicago's bullpen also has been tighter than Minnesota's, ranking fourth in the AL with a 3.62 ERA.

Minnesota over the weekend started a brutal stretch in which it plays 24 of its next 30 games on the road. Of their final 32 games, the Twins play 20 away and 12 in the Metrodome. The White Sox have 19 road games remaining and 13 at home.

Likes: The dog days of August fading into the intensity of the final 30-game sprint toward the finish line. What fun September is as the playoff races take shape and the college football season begins. … Eddie Guardado in a Twins uniform again. … The apparent return of the 20-game winner. Arizona's Brandon Webb is at 19 wins and Cleveland's Cliff Lee is at 18 with a month still to play. … Blueberry season. … Fresh blueberries and raspberries over vanilla ice cream on a hot summer's night. Can't beat it (OK, that was me impersonating Larry King). … My old school, Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High, coached by classmate Jack Giarmo, kicking off its football season Friday night at Erie Mason. Go get 'em, boys.

Dislikes: The final Red Sox-Yankees series in Yankee Stadium begins Tuesday night. Will the intensity remain the same in the new Yankee Stadium? You'd like to think so, but it's difficult to imagine it will be as loud there as at the old joint. … Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto: Strained elbow. … New York Mets' John Maine: Bone spurs. Ugh.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Time to love every man, woman and child
"Just forgive and let live for awhile
"Shake my head and wonder how much more
"The bells are tolling on the streets of the world
"What time is it, help me understand
"Why war is in the heart of man"

-- Buddy Miller, This Ol' World

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com