Projected starter Sale comes out firing

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Teammates have gushed at the mere mention of Chris Sale’s name. Heck, even straight-faced first-year manager Robin Ventura raised an eyebrow and nodded his head in approval when asked for his early impressions of the lefty.

“That's a bad matchup for lefties,” Ventura said. “He looks great. He looks like he's throwing nice and easy and free. Obviously, the velocity is there, now he has to build up the strength.”

Sale’s fastball registered as high as 94.9 m.p.h. last season, according to the Web site FanGraphs.com, but just looking at his 6-6, 180-pound frame doesn’t exactly fit the archetype of a specimen of strength. Upon his first glance of Sale this week, catcher A.J. Pierzynski deadpanned, “He looks great. Looks like he put on a pound or two. He’s about 150 now.”

Pierzynski continued, “But I don’t know what to expect because he’s never done it at a professional level, so I don’t know. The fun part about this year is there’s a lot of question marks that we have to answer before we get to Opening Day. I’m looking forward to that stuff and see how it goes.”

The White Sox have had just two workouts, and Sale has yet to make a major league start -- after making 79 appearances out of the bullpen the past two seasons. Still, the potential that oozes from his lanky left arm has garnered attention.

“He has the best stuff I’ve ever seen live,” starter John Danks stated.

“We’re getting an absolute stud in Chris Sale,” Jake Peavy added. “Chris Sale is as good as anybody I want to say I’ve ever played with just as far as his raw, physical talent. So throwing him in the rotation and how he holds up is going to be huge.”