Chris Sale to start Thursday

Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale was activated off the disabled list and will start Thursday night against the New York Yankees.

Sale, an American League All-Star selection the past two years, went on the disabled list April 22 with a left flexor strain. He was 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in four starts before the injury. The team confirmed his return on Twitter.

"I'm excited," Sale said. "It's been a long time. It's something I've been looking forward to. It's been longer than I expected. I think it was just our taking time and not rushing back before the rehab process [was over], to come back at 100 percent."

Sale threw a bullpen session Tuesday.

"He threw free and easy," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said after monitoring the bullpen session. "It's another step in the right direction. We'll continue to see how he is."

Sale struck out 11 and allowed one hit in four scoreless innings Friday in a minor league rehab start with Triple-A Charlotte.

"It's big," Ventura said of having Sale back. "A guy like him, you get a pretty good feeling that you're going to win. He's proven that. With everything he's gone through, it feels good."

To make room on the major league roster, right-hander Frank Francisco was informed after Wednesday's game at Kansas City that he was being designated for assignment. The veteran reliever, who struggled in four relief appearances with the White Sox, was signed as a minor-league free-agent in April.

To make room in the starting rotation, the White Sox will move right-hander Scott Carroll to the bullpen.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.