CINCINNATI — Ned Yost talked Robin Ventura into allowing him to use Chris Sale in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Great American Ballpark.
The White Sox manager said Sunday he preferred that Sale, who threw 115 pitches in a win over the Cubs on Saturday, wouldn’t be used in Tuesday’s exhibition. But Yost — the American League manager whose Kansas City Royals open the second half at the White Sox on Friday — got Ventura’s approval and intends to use Sale, though the when and where hasn’t been determined.
“It took some convincing,” Yost said. “I think (Ventura) understands and I understand. I understand how important (Sale) is to that organization and it’s one of those deals where the world kind of wants to see him pitch. But everything is going to be good.”
An All-Star for the fourth time, Sale is 8-4 with a 2.72 ERA in 119 1/3 innings this season. Not only does Sale lead the AL in strikeouts (157), Fielding Independent Pitching (2.21), WHIP (0.947) and strikeouts per nine (11.8), he’s fresh off a historic run that saw him match a pair of major league strikeout records with at least a dozen in five straight starts and 10 or more in eight straight. Sale has thrown at least 108 pitches in 13 consecutive starts and would be working on two days rest, which is his normal throw day. However, throwing in the bullpen and in a contest against the game’s elite players are different animals.
“That was the only thing in question,” Sale said. “If I throw a bullpen it’s usually not 100 percent.
“I knew it would be cutting it close (pitching Saturday) and I knew on my bullpen days I don’t crank it up too high. But we’ll figure something out.”
Sale said he hadn’t yet spoken to Yost about how he might be used but loves participating in the All-Star Game. He has pitched in each of the past three games, allowing a run and four hits with four strikeouts in four innings. Sale was the winning pitcher with two scoreless innings for the AL at Citi Field in 2013.
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The White Sox and Royals play four times this weekend, including a doubleheader on Friday. Ventura tentatively has Sale down for Sunday’s game, though he said all week the team’s rotation would be based upon the left-hander’s usage in Cincinnati. In a radio interview on Monday, Yost suggested he would be careful with the South Siders’ most prized possession — though not without joking about what he’d like to do.
“If it were up to me, quite frankly, I’d probably pitch Chris six or seven innings because we open up with them,” Yost joked. “But I don't think I could get away with that.”
“We get a pretty good parameter of what they want us to do, and we just kind of abide by it. I think it’s important. If I sent one of my pitchers to an All-Star team and I say, ‘OK, this is what I'd like you to do: Go ahead and use him but don't abuse him,’ I would expect them to do it, and I'm going to do the same thing.”