DETROIT – It wouldn’t be surprising if Chris Sale happened to put on the wrong uniform one night.
Counting his team at Florida Gulf Coast University, Sale has made his way to his fourth different team this year, the most recent fulfilling a dream as he put on a White Sox uniform for the first time.
“I’ve been talking about playing Major League Baseball as long as I can remember,” said the 21-year-old Sale, who was called up Wednesday. “When I called my dad and told him (about the promotion), it was definitely a good conversation.”
Baseball America tabbed Sale as the second closest to the major leagues among all draft-eligible college players. No. 1 Stephen Strasburg has already made an impact at the major-league level.
“It’s just been crazy these last few months, just moving all over the place, from each level,” Sale said. “I’ve been the new guy for like three months straight. I’ve been in three different places. It’s been fun though. I’ve had a lot of fun and met some good people. It’s been a good experience.”
After being drafted 13th overall, Sale went to Single-A Winston Salem for a short stint before getting called up to Triple-A Charlotte. He had a combined 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings, with 19 strikeouts.
“Obviously, we know and we are aware this kid comes from college,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He has a lot of innings on him so far. The first time I see this guy on tape, I asked (GM) Kenny (Williams) why we don’t have him here tomorrow. I’m very ignorant about the situation because he hadn’t pitched for a month. We sent him to the minors to get his stuff back together.”
Destined to be a starter, Sale is working out of the bullpen this year to keep his innings down after a long college season. The lefty role opened on the White Sox’s roster when Erick Threets went on the disabled list Tuesday with a toe injury.
Carlos Torres first took Threets spot when he started the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but he was sent back down immediately after that game. Sale gets his shot now and Guillen claims he won’t be afraid to use his young pitcher in key spots.
“He’s got a lot of guts,” Guillen said. “If this kid throws strikes, he should be fine. We are excited to have him. Like I told you guys in the past, I’m not afraid to manage kids. I have a great staff to work with him. We believe in what we do here. Hopefully this kid is a good one.”
The White Sox have been impressed with the way Sale has handled himself so far. It’s going to be a little harder to play it so cool now that he’s in the major leagues.
“The only thing I can do is to go out there and give everything I’ve got when my name’s called,” he said. “These are going to be important games that I’m going to be coming into. We’re trying to win a World Series and we’re on a good run right now. I have to go out there and perform. That’s all I can do is to go out there, strap them up and give everything I’ve got.”
Even before his first big-league game he was saying “we” instead of “they” so he definitely seems to be adjusting faster than others.