The longest spring training ever ended in the spring-trainingest fashion ever, with Kevan Smith (No. 81) crossing the plate when Cleveland reliever Matt Langwell (No. 76) walked Steve Tolleson (No. 74) with the bases loaded for a 5-4 White Sox winner. Perfect.
The walk-off walk boosted the Sox's record to 13-13-3, their first non-losing record since finishing the 2004 spring 15-13.
Hey, while we're talking about numbers that don't matter ...
Kings of Spring
We all know it's unwise to put a lot of stock in spring stats. It's also unwise to follow that sentence with a clause that begins with "but," because that leads to further conclusions that might not be of help. All I'll say is that each of these players had question marks coming into camp, and they're on their way to answering them. A couple guys were already entrenched in their role (Jones, Quintana), but the other players ended camp in a stronger position than they started, and can capitalize on it if they can carry the success into April.
In particular, Omogrosso might have done himself the biggest favor. He's waiting in the wings if Jesse Crain can't go for Opening Day, and right now, it looks like the longest spring training ever wasn't long enough for him.
Crain faced a couple tests against the Indians on Wednesday. Physically, he had to prove his adductor could hold up under a normal reliever's strain (two appearances in three days). This one he nailed:
"I don't feel like I'm two weeks away from my normal form," Crain said. "I feel like I'm a lot closer than that. But that's a decision they have to make. Hopefully I go out there Friday and put everything together obviously feeling good and getting guys out."
The results from the other test -- can he get batters out? -- were inconclusive at best. He pitched an inning against Cleveland on Wednesday, allowing two runs on three hits. All three hits were solidly struck, Michael Bourn made Alejandro De Aza chase one down on the left-center gap, and Paul Konerko snared Michael Brantley's hot grounder for the third out.
(In between, he struck out Nick Swisher with an outside corner (or just off the corner) with a changeup for a backwards K, and that's always welcome).
I didn't get the sense he had his full complement of stuff, though, and so I was surprised to see Robin Ventura lean toward Crain's optimism:
"We’ll check him again tomorrow, but he said he feels fine, which is good," Ventura said. "It looks more on the positive side than the other way. There’s still one more game, then we’ll feel pretty good about it."
We'll see on Friday.
The Indians were in midseason form when it came to their time-honored tradition of endangering White Sox hitters. This time, it was Daisuke Matsuzaka on Alexei Ramirez.
Ramirez is day-to-day with a shoulder contusion.