No matter if he pitched in Tuesday’s All-Star Game or not, Chris Sale’s next turn wouldn’t be any earlier than it is when he starts on Sunday.
With a heavy workload over the first half of the season, including 13 straight starts of at least 108 pitches, the White Sox intended to use the four-day off layoff as a built-in break for their ace.
Not only does Sale -- who is 8-4 with a 2.72 ERA in 17 starts -- still get to face the first-place Kansas City Royals, he does so with seven days in between starts after he beat the Cubs last Saturday at Wrigley.
“If he threw (last) Thursday or Friday, you might think it differently, but the way he’s been going and the way Saturday was -- how he exerted himself and what he felt like the next day -- you’re careful with the guy,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I understand the All-Star Game is a great game, great opportunity. He’s done it before. But you want to see your guy as healthy as possible. For guys that go in there and pitch on Friday or Saturday, it can be tough.
“He was always going Sunday or later.”
The White Sox made it clear last weekend at Wrigley they hoped to use Sale on Sunday but wanted to wait until after the All-Star Game to determine if he’d be ready or not. Ventura announced Sale’s status early Friday before the club played a doubleheader against the Royals.
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Sale’s break is no different than the rest of the staff. His situation just has more profile to it because the White Sox and Royals went back and forth on whether or not Sale would pitch in Cincinnati, three days after he threw 115 against the Cubs at Wrigley.
Jeff Samardzija also had seven days in between his starts before he pitched against the Royals in the opener of a doubleheader on Friday. Carlos Rodon gets an extended break as he next pitches on Tuesday, 10 days after he pitched against the Cubs. John Danks last pitched July 8. Only Jose Quintana, who starts Saturday, is working on normal rest.
For all the back and forth between the White Sox and Royals on Sale’s availability in Tuesday’s exhibition, the left-hander would have been available were it absolutely necessary.
“If something happens and that games goes late, he probably was going to pitch,” Ventura said. “My preference was he doesn’t pitch but I wasn’t there so hopefully they -- they handled it great and they still won the game and he had a great time. That’s it.”