According to ESPN and multiple reports, Sale expressed displeasure over having to wear the White Sox's 1976 navy, collared throwbacks, and the matter escalated from there, leading to a confrontation with a member of Chicago's front office. The team then decided to send Sale home from U.S. Cellular Field.
FanRag Sports first reported that Sale cut up the 1976 throwbacks during batting practice so they couldn't be worn. Fox Sports reported that Sale's dislike for the uniforms was because he thought they were uncomfortable; Sale also thought the White Sox were putting "PR and jersey sales" ahead of winning.
The White Sox instead played in their 1983 white, red and blue throwbacks, which they have worn in the past. Matt Albers got his first start since 2008 as the White Sox used six relievers on the mound Saturday.
Saturday night's game was suspended after the eighth inning tied at 3 following a lengthy rain delay. It will resume Sunday at 2:10 p.m. ET, with the series finale to follow after its completion. Manager Robin Ventura said Sale will not start the second game; Jose Quintana will stay on schedule and get the nod against the Tigers.
News of Sale's removal from his scheduled start Saturday night trickled out about an hour before the scheduled 7:15 p.m. ET first pitch in Chicago. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn clarified what occurred in a statement released at about 6:45 p.m. ET.
"Chris Sale has been scratched from tonight's scheduled start and sent home from the ballpark by the White Sox due to a clubhouse incident before the game," Hahn said. "The incident, which was non-physical in nature, currently is under further investigation by the club. The White Sox will have no additional comment until the investigation is completed."
After Saturday night's game, Ventura declined to discuss the incident and would not comment on whether the team will take any further discipline.
"Not going to discuss what went on in there, but unfortunate he didn't start tonight and I'm proud of the guys that came in and filled in," Ventura said.
Players were similarly tight-lipped.
Asked about the incident that forced him to make an unexpected start, right-hander Albers responded: "I think we'll keep that in-house."
Added White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier: "I can't really talk about that."
Sale has had run-ins with the White Sox's front office in the past, and sources around the team told ESPN that his relationship is strained with executive vice president Kenny Williams and others in the organization.
Williams had no comment on Saturday night's incident.
The decision to scratch Sale was met with rampant speculation, especially considering that the five-time All-Star has been mentioned in trade rumors in recent days.
The White Sox entered Saturday night in fourth place (46-50) in the American League Central, and Hahn recently told reporters he would be "open-minded" to all trade scenarios, with the exception of short-term rentals.
Hahn said trading either his 27-year-old ace or fellow All-Star Quintana "may be extreme," even if the team decides to undergo a rebuild, but that did not stop the trade talk from picking up in the hours before Sale's scheduled start Saturday.
The White Sox are reportedly asking for a massive haul in return for Sale -- one source told ESPN that Chicago is seeking five to seven prospects -- with the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers rumored to be among those interested.
Sale is 14-3 with a 3.18 ERA this season. He had 274 strikeouts in 2015, the most in the AL.
Information from ESPN's Katie Strang, Jerry Crasnick and Doug Padilla and The Associated Press was used in this report.