Bullpen session keeps Chris Sale's recovery on track

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale continued to progress toward an April 12 season debut with a short bullpen session Wednesday.

"It gets tough watching sunny days through a glass window," Sale said. "It’s nice to get back out there, get through a routine and have something to look forward to, a goal to reach."

Sale got in his work in a bullpen adjacent to a Triple-A game between the White Sox and Reds, where Hector Noesi faced off against Cincinnati's Dylan Axelrod.

Sale fractured a bone in his right foot at the end of February and has been on a delayed schedule ever since as he tries to get ready for the season. Remaining on his recovery plan are three outings, which pitching coach Don Cooper is referring to as "game-like settings."

The first of those three will take place Friday when Sale pitches in what is expected to be a simulated game at the team's spring-training complex. There is a chance that at least one of those game settings is an appearance in a Cactus League contest, while another takes place at extended spring training.

Sale already has been scratched from his Opening Day start, with the White Sox aiming to get him back into action six days after the season starts. Because of an early off day, the White Sox will only need four starters until April 12.

If Sale remains on track without a setback, his April 12 debut would take place at home against the Minnesota Twins.

"I’d like to be back tomorrow but there’s no telling; I’m not a doctor," Sale said. "I wish I could give you all the answers, I wish I had all the answers. I don’t. The only thing that’ll tell is time. The more time goes by, the better it feels. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.

"It’s already been 3 1/ 2 weeks so I wouldn’t see why (April 12) wouldn’t be a good date to shoot for."