CHICAGO -- Manager Robin Ventura wanted to stay away from using Jesse Crain on Saturday, after Crain threw a season-high 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in Friday's 3-1 victory. Crain also understands that the extreme circumstances faced by the White Sox often call for unusual measures where players are concerned.
Those measures could include Crain's third outing of at least two innings this season or coming back for a hitter or two on short rest the day after those 2 2/3 innings.
"If it comes time to go in there, I'm always ready," said Crain, who expected to throw two innings in relief of Gavin Floyd on Friday.
Crain ranks sixth among American League relievers with a .174 opponents average against. He also sits ninth with 11.30 strikeouts per nine innings, enhanced by Friday's four-strikeout effort.
After battling through right oblique, left oblique and right shoulder injuries starting back in Spring Training, Crain has reasserted himself as an important bullpen cog.
"The good news was it wasn't any bad injuries," Crain said. "You don't want to go through them, but if you're going to have an injury, you want it to be something that isn't serious and you can come back from.
"You've just got to make sure you're doing it the right way and you don't try to come back too early. If you're not playing right now when it's important, it's not good for the team."
Peavy enjoying healthy, productive season
CHICAGO -- If Jake Peavy had his choice, the veteran right-hander would continue his Major League career with the White Sox in 2013 and beyond.
He is healthy and has enjoyed playing for Robin Ventura and his staff during the team's run toward the 2012 postseason. The White Sox hold a $22 million club option for 2013, which almost certainly won't be picked up, meaning their $4 million buyout could be the starting point for a multi-year extension.
But with the White Sox fighting for their playoff life with every pitch, let alone every game, Peavy's future employment is not exactly foremost on anyone's mind in the present.
"We are so focused in here right now and just trying to be the best we can as a team, that I haven't thought about it," Peavy said. "I certainly will cross that bridge when we get there and hopefully we can work things out.
"I've made it very clear that I love this place and I would love to be part of the future plans. We'll leave it at that. I can promise you there's no thought on this end at all -- and there shouldn't be -- and on their end either, I'm sure."
Peavy, 31, has put together the most successful season of the four he has pitched with the White Sox, which also just happens to be his only healthy effort. His 211 innings pitched rank fifth among AL starters, and while his record sits at just 11-12, that number or his 186 strikeouts aren't what matters.
The proudest accomplishment for Peavy simply has been taking the baseball every five days and serving as a starting pitcher who can be relied upon by Ventura. Injuries prevented that from happening during the past three years.
"That means more to me than earned runs, wins and losses, this and that," said Peavy of his 31 starts, with one more possibly coming next week in Cleveland. "I wanted to be the guy that takes the ball and is a veteran leader, and honestly, that's the biggest thing for me.
"If you are out there regularly, it means you are healthy enough to be out there. When I'm healthy, I feel like I can give us a chance to compete. So, it kind of goes hand and hand. It's not fun being out there and being hurt and trying to figure out a way.
"At the same time, it hurts just as bad sitting there on the side and not being able to participate. It was a frustrating few years. But I'm so happy it's behind me now. I look forward to whatever the future may hold."
White Sox rotation not yet set for Cleveland series
CHICAGO -- Rookie Hector Santiago looks to be the man opening the White Sox three-game road set in Cleveland on Monday night, following fellow rookie Jose Quintana, who starts in Sunday's home finale. But manager Robin Ventura still would not confirm a three-game rotation as of Saturday afternoon.
"We have to get through the next couple of days," Ventura said. "We have a lot of choices, I know that."
Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd would be available to work on regular rest for Tuesday and Wednesday's games, although the White Sox could turn to Francisco Liriano and try to play on the Indians' weakness against left-handed starters. If the White Sox slip out of contention, Dylan Axelrod and/or Philip Humber also could get a look.
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told MLB.com earlier this week that Chris Sale, the first-year starter who worked Saturday, would not be coming back Wednesday on three days' rest, even if the team needed a win. Ventura said Saturday there certainly would be hesitation to use him in that situation.
"You would hesitate because you have to see what he does today and how it goes," Ventura said. "The mentality of what I know of these guys is everybody will want to pitch."
Third to first
Chris Sale allowed five runs in a home start Saturday for the first time this season. He had allowed three runs combined over his previous three home starts, covering 20 2/3 innings.
Orlando Hudson recorded the second grand slam of his career and third pinch-hit home run of his career with his shot in the eighth inning Saturday.
White Sox pitchers combined to strike out 16 in Saturday's 10-4 loss.
Dewayne Wise replaced Alejandro De Aza in center field and at the leadoff spot in the batting order Saturday. De Aza was scratched with flu-like symptoms.
Robin Ventura agreed upon a three-year contract when he took over as White Sox manager. But don't look for Ventura to be a managerial lifer based on his response to that question Saturday.
"No, I can't," said Ventura, when asked if he saw himself managing as long as Walter Alston or Tommy Lasorda did. "Those guys did it a long time, and I'm hoping to get through this one."
At the start of action Saturday, seven American League teams had better records than the White Sox, and six were better than the division-leading Tigers. Neither team in the AL Central has proven to be dominant, but that fact doesn't mean the division winner would be considered a second-tier playoff team.
"It's competitive," Ventura said of the division. "There are some teams having good years in other divisions. But whichever team gets in, it's not going to be a cake walk for anybody else."
"I don't think people are going, 'Let's get in the playoffs and I hope we get the White Sox or Tigers,'" Chicago starting pitcher Jake Peavy said. "I can't see people lining up at the door saying we want to play these teams. The top two teams in our division are as good as any team on any given day and can certainly be dangerous and very capable of winning the World Series."