The longest spring ever comes to a close today, but a couple questions may linger into the exhibition series in Milwaukee, if not all the way until Opening Day.
Chief among them, nothing has changed with Alex Rios (back) and Jesse Crain (adductor). Rios missed a fourth straight game on Tuesday, and there's mixed messages abound in Daryl Van Schouwen's assessment until it closes with a declaration from Rios: "I'm going to be ready."
Crain, meanwhile, is scheduled to appear in today's game to test his hip. It's not a make-or-break outing unless he experiences a clear setback, because it seems like Robin Ventura would want him to throw one more time before the season started to confirm any hunches, whatever they may be.
While waiting for Crain and Rios, the Sox did close a couple open cases on Tuesday.
If Crain and/or Rios need to hit the disabled list for Opening Day, John Danks and Leyson Septimo will be waiting for them. The Sox placed both pitchers on the 15-day DL due to shoulder problems. Danks' issues are well-covered here, but Septimo flew under the radar because his absence doesn't really have any ramifications for the Opening Day roster. He isn't going to win a popularity contest with Donnie Veal, and his lack of options isn't a compelling enough counterargument. If anything, the injury allows the Sox to kick the can down the road and see if Septimo is needed by the time they need to make a decision on his future.
Meanwhile, Ventura officially named Dylan Axelrod the season-opening fifth starter, which isn't exciting. It's not particularly concerning, either, because they haven't given off any indications that they're committed to him beyond a couple starts ("He's going to be the fifth guy for right now. We'll see how he does."). If he steals a couple of quality outings, the Sox will have a deeper bullpen over that same stretch. If he gets trounced, there's a Plan B. The Sox have started other seasons in worse shape -- 2009, for instance.
With Danks and Septimo on the DL and David Purcey reassigned to minor-league camp, the White Sox's roster is down to 31. And with Axelrod starting in the season in the rotation, Brian Omogrosso is the 26th man until proven otherwise.
Underneath the major-league motions, Brandon Short addressed some personal business against the Rangers on Tuesday. He drilled a pair of homers -- a three-run shot off Matt Harrison and a solo blast off Ross Wolf -- at Surprise Stadium, the scene of his unfortunate, severe shoulder injury last spring.
The collision with the wall limited Short to two just two Cactus League plate appearances in 2012. This time around, Short is 6-for-16 with those two homers to match his two singles and two doubles. He still has plenty of work cut out of him, especially with a pretty crowded and competitive outfield situation at Birmingham and Charlotte. Still, he's established a foundation for a fresh start, and by all accounts, he deserves a do-over.