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Crain feels good after throwing off mound

SEATTLE -- Jesse Crain (right shoulder strain) threw off a mound Saturday at Safeco Field and all went well for the veteran right-hander.

Dressed in full uniform on the field for the first time since the Rays acquired him from the White Sox on July 29 for future considerations, Crain threw 25 fastballs.

"First time I've gone full uniform so far for the Rays, so it's a good feeling," Crain said. "It's fun to get out there off the mound again, it's been so long. You know, it's just another day in the process of working my way back."

Crain said the biggest thing will be how he feels on Sunday.

"So tomorrow will be a big day to see how I feel," Crain said. "I'm going to toss again tomorrow. I think that's the biggest thing that tells me when I'm healthy when I can go out there and push it and then come back the next day and I'm strong. I haven't gone backwards."

After Saturday night's game, the Rays will have 21 games remaining on their schedule, which begs the question regarding whether Crain will be able to return to pitch before the end of the season.

"Right now, I feel like I'm going to be able to," Crain said. "Hopefully, for a couple of weeks. If I keep progressing like I have over the last week, I think I have a good shot."

Crain allowed that he has been in a unique situation with the Rays as he has traveled with the team even though he has not been active.

"It's been, in that sense, very crazy," Crain said. "But it's a blessing, a blessing to be here. I haven't done one thing on the field, but the guys have taken me in as part of the team. Which is all I can ask for and treated me very well. The training staff has been unbelievable, working with me without pushing me. I came here for a reason and hopefully I can make it pay off in the end."

Rays manager Joe Maddon was asked how big of a boost it would be for the team to get Crain active and pitching out of the bullpen.

"Depends on which level we get back," Maddon said. "If we get a full Jesse Crain back that would be quite a boost. This guy is really, really good. He was an All-Star this year, he's been very good for many years. And he definitely presents a different kind of matching up within our bullpen. This guy's been really good on righties. He can get lefties out, too, but really, really good on right-handers and we could use that."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
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