Sale expects to face opening day jitters

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago White Sox opening day starter Chris Sale admitted on Sunday that he will have to pay extra attention to relaxing before his April 1 start against Kansas City.

“I am definitely going to have to collect myself,” he said. “I will have to take a lot of deep breaths. The last couple of opening days I was like a kid in a candy shop. It is one of those days where there is fun, excitement and the energy is all around you. I will have to do everything I can to collect my thoughts and stay on an even plane. My knees are shaking just talking about it.”

Sale’s preparation includes two more spring starts. He will go 100 pitches on March 21 and back off to 60 on the March 26. Sale will have five days of rest before the opener.

Keppinger returns: Sox third baseman Jeff Keppinger returned to camp after taking three personal days. He was back in the lineup Sunday for the first time since March 9 as he was nursing a sore shoulder before taking time off.

“I don’t have an issue with my shoulder that will be a problem all season long,” Keppinger said. “There was a little irritation in there because of using it real fast. In the offseason I really did not have time to build it up.”

Keppinger broke his ankle in an offseason accident.

Flowers sits: Sox starting catcher Tyler Flowers was scratched from Sunday’s lineup due to lower back spasms. Flowers has missed three games due to the back problem.

“It is getting better and I am able to do all the drills,” he said. “I’m just not quite ready, but almost there.”

Troncoso’s injury: Non-roster veteran relief pitcher Ramon Troncoso split a fingernail on his middle pitching finger in Saturday’s game.

Troncoso, who has an outside shot of winning a bullpen spot, said he will be ready to pitch again on Tuesday.

Troncoso has had this same problem on numerous occasions. The training staff put glue on the nail Saturday and taped the cracked area Sunday.