Back to White Sox rotation for Chris Sale
By RICK GANO
CHICAGO (AP) Chris Sale made his pitch. Did he ever. The Chicago White Sox's young lefty convinced general manager Ken Williams that the discomfort he felt in his elbow was normal soreness and not pain from a major injury.
An MRI came out clean to back up his claim and on Friday the White Sox decided to put him back in the starting rotation, a week after he was sent to the bullpen as a precautionary measure. He's scheduled to start Saturday against Kansas City.
"At the end of the day, we're all on the same side. They've had my best interest in mind since the day I got here. They'd rather be too cautious than not cautious enough. I got no complaints, because at the end of the day, they truly are looking out for my best interests," Sale said Friday after a meeting that included Williams, manager Robin Ventura and members of the medical and coaching staff.
"It was just something that might have been maybe a little early, as far as making a move before getting an MRI, making sure 100 percent that I wasn't able to do it," Sale added. "At the end of the day, it all came through and worked out well."
The team sent him to the bullpen May 4, worried that the lanky 6-foot-6 Sale, who worked out of the bullpen in 2010 and 2011, might be doing too much too soon in his first season as a starter and concerned about his report of pain to the medical staff.
He went 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in five starts. After the switch, he pitched a game in relief and blew the save.
The team's first-round draft choice in 2010, Sale phoned Williams with a passionate plea to go back in the rotation in a strong conversation that Williams said nearly crossed the line.
"The forcefulness in which he wanted to get back on the mound told us something. It told us the soreness wasn't something he felt was painful enough where we had to pull the plug on him," Williams said. "If Chris Sale believes in something he will stand up for himself and he doesn't care who he stands up against. He had some very strong things to say to me."
Sale's main point was that his arm was just sore not injured and that's why he asked for the MRI.
"That's something I knew from day one. It was never pain," he said. "I never had to skip a start or put on my clothes a different way. It was just sore. At the end of the day, it just was. I'm thankful for that."
Sale, whose fastball has been clocked at 100 mph, will be monitored and Williams said there's a chance he could skip starts. Sale was 2-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 58 games out of the bullpen last season and pitched in only 11 minor league games before being called up in 2010.
But Williams said the White Sox drafted Sale out of Florida Gulf Coast to be a starter.
"He's unique. He earned the right through his performance to get to the majors quickly," Williams said.
"To a certain degree we're treading on new ground, but we're treading on cautious ground."
Updated May 11, 2012