Source: White Sox sign ex-Twins reliever

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a three-year contract with free-agent reliever Jesse Crain worth around $13 million, a major-league source confirmed to

The signing came as a minor surprise, given that the White Sox appeared to be at their payroll limit after adding Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko in recent big-dollar deals.

The move has a double impact on the American League Central, since Crain is moving from one contender to another. Crain, 29, spent the first nine years of his professional career with the Minnesota Twins organization.

The right-hander is coming off one of his best seasons as a big leaguer. He went 1-1 with a 3.04 ERA and one save in 71 appearances in 2010.

It’s not clear what Crain’s role will be, but the White Sox don’t have a set closer after Bobby Jenks was cut earlier this month. Matt Thornton is one candidate to close for Chicago, but he has excelled in a set-up role.

Peter Gammons of first reported the agreement between Crain and the White Sox.