White Sox: First Carlos Quinton then Griffey Jr. now Joe Creese
CHICAGO -- Joe Crede can't put any sort of guarantee on his return to the field during the final month of the 2008 season and possibly moving forward into the playoffs.
Not when he's still feeling pain from nerve irritation in his back.
But the All-Star third baseman would not have taken the steps he has this weekend if he had completely shut things down.
"Obviously, I wouldn't have had the epidural if I didn't think so," said Crede, when asked if he entertained thoughts of playing again in September, referring to the epidural he received on Friday. "We are just ... I hope I do get a chance to come back and just go from there.
"Basically, we are just taking things day by day because there's still nerve irritation. That's our biggest concern right now. I'm getting treatment, and we are trying to calm it down the best we can."
Crede described the feeling in his back as "uncomfortable and bothersome," although as of Sunday morning, the epidural had yet to take full effect. It's that sort of lingering pain that led Ozzie Guillen to praise his third baseman for playing when he clearly wasn't at 100 percent, but Guillen quickly added how he didn't expect Crede back this year.
Those words from the White Sox manager didn't bother Crede. He understands better than anyone else how he needs to get back healthy before being able to make on-field contributions and how important these final 21 games are to the team.
"Physically, I just don't feel comfortable being able to go out there," Crede said. "The pain is still there and there's too much stuff to worry about on a baseball field to also have to worry about dealing with pain.
"I need to take care of it before I do anything physical out there," Crede added.
Juan Uribe started at third base in Sunday's series finale against the Angels, and he will continue in that role unless conditions drastically improve for Crede. As for 2009 and beyond?
While Crede will be a free agent after this current campaign comes to a close, he isn't worried about possible suitors being given pause for thought by his continued back problems. Crede believes his abilities speak for themselves, once he finds a way to get healthy.
"It's a situation where people will look at the abilities more than your statistics," Crede said. "And if they like it, they like it. If they don't, they don't.
"Injuries are part of the game. This kind of stuff happens. You just have to learn to fight through it and keep a positive mind and attitude about the whole thing."