Sale looks ready for opening assignment

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- After an abbreviated tune up Tuesday against the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox opening day starter Chris Sale appeared ready to take the mound against Kansas City next Monday at U.S Cellular Field.

Sale allowed just one run and one hit (a solo home run by former Cub Geovany Soto) in four innings, throwing 50 pitches.

“I felt good today, especially against lefties,” he said. “We decided to use more changeups. You wanted to go in and simulate a real game. I treated this like a regular season game as much as I could.”

Manager Robin Ventura named Sale his opening day pitcher last week. Sale had just one bad outing this spring, allowing five runs against Milwaukee. His spring composite was 10 earned runs in 23.1 innings and he led the Cactus League with four wins.

Sale has had a whirlwind year since joining the Sox rotation last April. The 25-year-old pitcher won 17 games in his first season in the Chicago rotation. Sale was named to the All-Star team in July of 2012 and signed a five-year, $32.5 million deal in mid-March this spring.

Sale admits that thinking about his first opening day start has been a bit distracting.

“Whether it is spring training or the first game of the season, I still get butterflies in my stomach,” Sale said. “The nerves are still , but it is all how you control it. I will try to clear my mind as much as I can.”

The Sox ace spent just two months in the minor leagues after being selected by Chicago in the first round (13th overall) of the 2010 June amateur draft. Sale was promoted to the major leagues in September of 2010.

He pitched out of the bullpen the entire 2011 campaign, making 59 appearances.