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Sale has impressive spring debut

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Despite a limited pitch arsenal, Chris Sale looked in top form during his first Cactus League start.

The staff ace pitched into the third inning, not typical for a first spring start, but with a minimal pitch count he was able to last 2 2/3 scoreless innings while giving up one hit with four strikeouts.

“Today’s focus was mostly fastball changeup,” Sale said. “I only threw one slider today. I’m just getting a feel for those. I’m pitching to both sides of the plate and getting a little bit of competition in and getting the juices flowing a little bit.”

The only hit Sale gave up was a double to Adrian Gonzalez in the second inning.

“Chris looked great,” manager Robin Ventura said. “We didn’t want to throw him that much but to get him out there three times, he looked fine.”

The next step for sale is to mix in some sliders during his between-start bullpen sessions and then the pitch more often when he takes the mound again in five days.

“For the most part I felt like I located my fastball pretty well,” Sale said. “I threw a couple of good changeups after having a couple of bad ones that just slipped out of my hand. I was able to corral that and get some good work in today.”

Perhaps most impressive of all is that Sale was facing a Dodgers team that reported to spring training ahead of most other clubs since their will play their first regular-season game March 22 in Australia against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“It’s still spring training, and how many extra games have they played, two?” Sale said. “That’s not too, too advanced. At the same time it’s a good lineup and they have some professional hitters over there. It’s a great team. I’m satisfied with the work that got done today. I have to keep it moving and keep working to build up.”