CHICAGO – Chris Sale owned up to some soreness Friday, a day after the Chicago White Sox left-hander returned from the disabled list with a dominating start against the New York Yankees -- the normal kind of sore.
Sale, who had missed the previous five weeks with a strained flexor muscle in his left arm, said the barking behind his left shoulder is simply par for the course.
“I was actually more sore after my [rehab] start in Durham [North Carolina, with Triple-A Charlotte] than I was today just because it was kind of the first one getting back on it,” Sale said Friday. “So yeah, I feel real good today and after I get done throwing, that’ll be the true test.”
Sale threw 86 pitches in six innings Thursday, with just 18 of those sliders as the White Sox seek to reduce his reliance on the demanding pitch. Catcher Tyler Flowers said he actually felt he might have mixed in a few too many -- and joked that he will find out soon enough if he is in hot water with the coaching staff.
“It makes it easier [to go away from the slider] when his changeup is working really well,” Flowers said. “I don’t know, we’ll see if anybody says anything to me about cutting back on those sliders, but I felt like I was trying to use them as sparingly as I could. That lineup called for using it probably more than your typical lineup.”
Sale now is in line to start Tuesday at home against the Cleveland Indians, on course for a slightly higher pitch count than Thursday's -- if not necessarily more sliders.
“It’s nice having him back, we know that,” manager Robin Ventura said. “For him going out there free and easy throwing how he did, he was excited, too. I think that’s part of coming back. It really helps your team when you have a guy like him coming back and excited as he was to pitch and as dominating as he was when he was in there. He feels great today, which is good news also.”
In the bigger picture, the White Sox have a pitcher they know can get the job done every five games.
“When he pitches you can’t be an underdog,” Paul Konerko said of Sale. “There are some guys out there where you feel like it’s an even match, but he’s up to that level now. I don’t feel that there’s anybody he could go up against where we feel like we’re behind the eight-ball going in, we’re underdogs.
“There are some pitchers in the league that definitely have the same type of ring to their name and the same type of makeup and stuff, but we’re just fortunate we have one of them and it’s nice to see him back out there.”