GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It essentially goes hand-in-hand, but Chris Sale is not only the most talented pitcher on the Chicago White Sox staff, he is also the most deserving of the Opening Day starting honor.
That assessment comes straight from Jake Peavy, who is also considered a candidate to start in the season opener.
“Chris Sale is the best pitcher on the team,” Peavy said Tuesday on the scheduled first day for pitchers and catchers to arrive in camp. “I say that with no disrespect to anyone on the team, but he’s the best arm we got. He’s the most talented guy we got.
“Your best guy goes Opening Day. That’s the way I’ve always seen it. I know there’s matchup stuff. That will be for (manager) Robin (Ventura) and those guys to decide.”
Dubbed “The Lefty” by Peavy, Sale is in just his second season as a starter but showed after his maiden voyage in 2012 that he has what it takes for long-term success. The only blip on an otherwise strong year was a late-season slide that eliminated him from the Cy Young Award discussion.
Sale was also asked about the Opening Day assignment and his eyes lit up instantly.
“That would be crazy,” Sale said. “I would be speechless if it came to that. But as I’ve said before if anyone deserves that it’s Peavy. He’s the leader of the team and our pitching staff and he has the resume to do it. We all have our faith and trust in him and he’s our guy.”
That leadership role isn’t something Peavy takes lightly. Even if Sale gets the nod as the No. 1 starter, Peavy knows his veteran status and a resume that includes a Cy Young Award makes him somebody who has to set the tone.
“You can lead from any role and position on the team,” Peavy said. “I’m not going to read too far into (the Opening Day assignment) as far as what I need to do as a leader on the team.”