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02/26/07 5:35 PM ET

Floyd injures ankle in intrasquad game

Haeger, Masset continue battle for fifth starter spot

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Gavin Floyd's first start for the White Sox was a bit more painful than he expected. And that discomfort had almost nothing to do with his effort on the mound during Monday's intrasquad game.

Floyd started for Team Thome and faced just four batters before slipping on the follow through of his first pitch to Joe Crede and injuring his right ankle. Floyd suffered a mild sprain and probably will miss only a couple of days, leaving him in line to pitch as scheduled Friday against Arizona.

"I hope so," said Floyd of Friday, when he is scheduled to follow Jose Contreras to the mound. "It just happened, so I've done the treatment and I'm going to come here every day and do the treatment.

"It's fine. I followed through on the pitch and slightly rolled it over, so I'm just trying to get it back as quickly as possible. I can walk on it and we did some strength tests and I'm pretty much full strength. We'll just take it day by day and see it how it feels tomorrow."

Floyd yielded one run over two-thirds of an inning, issuing a one-out walk to Ryan Sweeney, who came around to score on Paul Konerko's double to left-center. He was originally scheduled to work two innings, but the first inning was stopped after Floyd's misstep against Crede and he was carted back to the clubhouse.

None of the fifth starter candidates were particularly dominant during Monday's action. Charlie Haeger allowed one run on three hits, striking out Junior Spivey, while Nick Masset earned the victory despite yielding two runs on five hits over 1 1/3 innings.

But this game basically signaled the start of the competition for the final spot in the rotation, with the prime candidates simply satisfied by getting to face opposing hitters.

"Anytime I face hitters, I'm going to take it seriously," Haeger said. "It's good to see them back in the box again, in a live situation versus batting practice, so it was good to get comfortable with it again.

"At best, it was OK. I was up a little early in my first inning, and in my second inning, I got it controlled and down a little bit better. Overall, it was OK."

Haeger next takes the mound on Thursday against Colorado at Hi Corbett Field, with Masset throwing a side session on Wednesday. John Danks, who general manager Ken Williams labeled as the third viable candidate for the fifth starter's battle, follows Buehrle and Jon Garland to the mound in Wednesday's Cactus League opener at Tucson Electric Park.

If all goes well, Floyd will stay on track for Friday.

"It's just one game, and I'm fine," said Floyd, who had his right ankle heavily taped. "I'm just going to go out there and keep on pitching."

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