Sale up to the starting challenge

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale, the offseason was a time for finding and developing a new routine that fits him best.

Elevated to the starting rotation after a successful stint as a long reliever last season, the left-handed Sale said he did more endurance work, including long distance running and cardio, than he usually would, as well as long tossing. He even took up swimming.

“I figured if my father could get in the pool and swim some laps then I can, too,” he said.

Sale threw 71 innings in relief last season, including a season-high 14 in July when opponents hit just .146 against him. He will take the mound as a starter for the first time since May 2010, when he was at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Sale said trying to live up to the accomplishments of Mark Buehrle, who made 31 starts and threw 205 1/3 innings last season before heading to the Miami Marlins via free agency, would make him a "madman." But moving to the starting rotation means Sale will have to adopt a different mindset in addition to a new routine.

“Obviously it’s going to be a little different but pitching is pitching -- I’ve got to go out there and get outs,” Sale said. “But in terms of stretching it out, I’m going to have to focus on pacing myself a little bit better over the games so I’m not going out there and just turning and burning for 10, 15, 20 pitches. I’ve got to pace myself because I’ve got to go six, seven, eight, nine innings.”