Crede focused on his health
Third baseman doesn't want to talk about contract
MINNEAPOLIS -- There is plenty for Joe Crede to worry about in the present, without giving a moment's thought as to how the next offseason will play out contractually.
In fact, Crede's focus falls entirely on getting healthy and off the disabled list to help the White Sox playoff drive in August and September. So when Crede was asked prior to Monday's series opener at the Metrodome if this latest back problem would raise a red flag for potential long-term negotiations, be it in or outside of Chicago, Crede didn't seem to want to delve too deeply into the topic.
"It's something you can't control," said Crede of perceptions surrounding his long-term back condition. "The biggest thing is you always want to play somewhere where you are definitely comfortable, but it's really out of your control. It's something we won't worry about.
"You want your abilities to speak for yourself when the time comes."
Crede pointed out an extremely important distinction between this year's back lumbar inflammation and last year's more serious problem. The season-ending surgery in 2007 came as the result of structural damage.
This year's issue is "a blip on the radar," according to Crede. It wouldn't draw much notice if it was a hamstring or groin strain, but it does so in this instance because of Crede's prior back pain.
"Obviously the biggest thing is what we are dealing with has nothing to do with last year," Crede said. "There's nothing structurally wrong with the back and nothing that says it's going to be a prolonged thing. So we manage it and move on."
On Monday, Crede was part of the last batting-practice group to hit on the Metrodome turf. He was placed on the disabled list on July 25, retroactive to July 22, and Crede believes there's nothing that should prevent him from coming back when his DL time is done.
Although his error total at third base certainly is a bit inflated from past seasons, Crede's numbers with the bat are commensurate with his statistics during a breakout offensive campaign in 2006. His 17 home runs leave him behind only Alex Rodriguez and Evan Longoria among American League third basemen, and Crede's 54 RBIs rank fifth.
Those totals signify quite a comeback for Crede, who has previously discussed his concern about simply walking. And when October comes to a close, following what Crede hopes is another White Sox World Series title, he also hopes that his on-field work is analyzed more than fears about his back.
"The biggest thing is it's a long season," Crede said. "Going through a long season healthy is a great thing to do, but at the same time, you have stuff like this.
"Really, it's gratifying to know you feel so much better than this time last year, and I feel 100 times better. It was a frustrating experience going through that, and you don't want to wish that on anybody else."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.