PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) -Chicago White Sox second baseman Danny Richar missed his fifth consecutive game Sunday because of back problems that have prevented him from performing simple baseball activities.
Richar said the back pain was particularly intense Saturday.
``I tried to take a couple of groundballs and I couldn't do it,'' Richar said. ``I took a couple (Sunday) and it still bothered me a lot. I'm working in the training room every day as much as I can to be ready.''
While the report on Richar has been discouraging, the White Sox received some good news when injured outfielders Jerry Owens (groin) and Carlos Quentin (left shoulder) played in a Sunday morning 'B' game. They were both cleared to return to Cactus League games as early as Monday afternoon, when the Chicago hosts Seattle.
Richar and the White Sox are unsure when he'll return. Manager Ozzie Guillen said Richar had an MRI and the results showed there was no major damage.
``I don't expect him back for at least a few more games,'' Guillen said. ``He just has pain, so we'll see.''
Richar was expected to compete for the second base job with Juan Uribe and rookie Alexei Ramirez this spring, but was a week late because of visa problems. When Richar did arrive, so did his back problems, which he originally suffered playing winter ball.
He fears the injury will hurt his chances of winning a starting job.
``First of all, they were waiting for me when I had the problem with my visa and I got here late,'' he said. ``Then, I got hurt after two games.''
Guillen was asked if he was worried about where Richar fits into the battle for second base.
``I would be concerned if we didn't have any other guys there,'' he said.
As for Owens and Quentin, they are each competing with Brian Anderson for a starting outfield spot, as well as the fourth outfield spot coming off the bench.
With just under three weeks left, it's still wide open.
``It's an opportunity, again, for me to continue to show them that I can be the guy at the top and that's what I want,'' Owens said. ``That's my main thing. The cohesiveness of the lineup, hopefully I can contribute to that every day again.
``It's frustrating, but at the same time I want to be healthy and I've been working toward it. I'm looking forward to getting back out there.''
The plan with Quentin is to continue to run him through shoulder-strengthening drills, like swinging a bat with just the left arm, as well as easing him back into Cactus League play beginning Monday.
``Yeah, it feels good,'' Quentin said. ``The one-hand drills have gone well. Every day, I've progressed with them. I've been on a pretty rigorous strengthening program over the past five days. I'll be in there tomorrow to get some at-bats.''

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