Sale playing it safe in PED era

Chris Sale has tried to put on weight, and he's being as careful as possible with supplements. Denny Medley/US Presswire

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For the sake of Major League Baseball, White Sox pitcher Chris Sale is hoping that the news out of South Florida this winter involving performance-enhancing drugs is proven to be untrue.

Sale, a Fort Myers, Fla., resident, was shocked to hear that the Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun and the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, among other players, were reportedly linked to a Miami-area clinic run by Anthony Bosch.

"I guess what I can say to that is you have to be careful with who you involve yourself with and what you do," Sale said Tuesday morning. "I'm pulling for those guys. I'm hoping that this guy is coming out talking out of his rear end."

Sale, 23, said that even before he became a professional baseball player, the game's name had been tarnished. Now that he is in the league, it worries him even more that there are still PED controversies.

"Some of those guys had some great years and some great careers," Sale said. "You hope for kind of baseball's sake and the game, as tarnished as Major League Baseball's name has been for the last decade or so almost, you're hoping for the game's sake that it's just a fluke."

Sale lives some 150 miles from Miami, but still close enough to feel the reverberations from what is happening in the game. He said he goes to great measures to make sure that everything he does with supplements for weight gain is approved by MLB.

"You have to be extra careful," Sale said. "I'm starting to read the back of the Pepsi cans even. You just never know. You just have to be careful and mind your Ps and Qs."

He does his due diligence by running any and all vitamins and medicines past the White Sox's training and medical staff.

"You can go over toi the vitamin shop and I'm sure you can find something that's going to pop us for a drug test," Sale said. "It's not as easy as going to the local vitamin shop and saying ‘I want this, this and that.' You could get burned for it. With the certification now, they have a list of everything you can and can't take. It's a little bit easier to figure out what you're putting in your body."

In his efforts to do things the right way, Sale doesn't have to look far for a role model. He is proud of being in an organization that has a player like Frank Thomas to its credit.

"And Frank has a little more of a valid point than I do," Sale said. "He's talking about Hall of Fame numbers. People look at Frank's career and what he did by himself, that's just God-given ability and just manpower.

"Then you start talking about guys doing stuff like (PEDs), it is unfair and there is obviously an advantage. I'd love to add 40 pounds in an offseason, but not going about it that way. So yeah, there is an advantage to it for guys that take that. At the same time, I don't really pay attention to it all that much. I try to keep my ears and eyes out of that kind of stuff and not really pay any attention to it."

For now, Sale feels it's best to take the innocent-until-proven-guilty approach.

"Here's the thing: Nobody has said for sure if it is or isn't (happening)," Sale said. "I'm not going to sit here and bash these guys if they don't deserve it. But you have to be careful with what you do and who you associate yourself with and what you're putting in your body. Crazy things happen and it definitely falls under the scenario of that. You just have to be careful and keep your eyes open."