FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Chris Sale has a one-track mind.
"I'm here to win," Sale pronounced during his first media availability this spring, "I know I've said win 157 times, but that's why I'm here."
The reference to 157 may sound like hyperbole, but Sale's count wasn't far off. Getting to the playoffs for the first time in his career, and winning as a member of the Red Sox, was a constant theme on Tuesday for the newly acquired left-hander.
"It's all I ever wanted to do", said Sale. "When I tell you that, I'm being completely honest. You can ask my Little League coach, my high-school coach, my college coach. I want to win. Plain and simple. That's my only job. I'm a starting pitcher. I play once a week, so when I get out there I do everything I can to win that game."
Everything including taking a pair of scissors to a White Sox jersey he didn't care to wear on the mound.
Last season Sale objected to playing in a throwback jersey because the loose-fitting style affected the mechanics of his delivery. Sale was suspended five games by the White Sox and missed a start.
At the time, Sale regretted hurting his team by missing a turn in the rotation. However, he stood by his actions.
Sale didn't appear to have a change of heart with a change of scenery.
"I learned something from that experience," Sale explained, "and hopefully it's made me a better person."
When pressed on the issue by a reporter, Sale didn't back down and refused to call his behavior a mistake.
Following a long pause Sale said, "It was . . . it was something I learned from. I'll leave it at that."
Sale was more than happy to explain how he plans on avoiding the first-year curse in Boston.
"I expect a lot of myself," said Sale, "I have very high expectations of myself. I demand a lot of myself. I don't think it will be any different. I'll be harder on myself than you guys" -- media and fans -- "will."
Still, Sale is savvy enough to understand that Boston will require next-level focus.
"I think that's my game plan for this year. You know, dial it in on the important things that are baseball-related and go with that."
Sale certainly has the make-up to handle the pressure.
"I'm just competitive," he said "I'm very, very competitive no matter what it is. If I'm playing golf or pitching or running or whatever it is I'm just a very, very competitive person. Sometimes that gets the best of me and I know that. And that's why I think this year my focus level will be raised a little bit."
And that focus level clearly is set on finally becoming a champion.