Chris Sale is the only White Sox player heading to Cincinnati this week, but manager Robin Ventura hopes he won’t see his ace left-hander take the mound for Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Great American Ballpark.
Sale threw 115 pitches in the White Sox 5-1 win over the Cubs on Saturday and has thrown 108 or more pitches in each of his last 13 starts. He’s handled the heavy workload well — he has a 2.13 ERA with double-digit strikeouts in 10 of those starts — but Ventura would rather see Sale get an extended break between appearances.
“I would prefer he wouldn’t (pitch), Ventura said. “He is (our only representative). But I also want him to pitch for us for the rest of the year too.”
Sale, who’s pitched in the last three All-Star Games, said he understands his manager’s position. If he doesn’t pitch Tuesday, Sale would be in line to start the White Sox series finale against Kansas City next Sunday.
“Those aren’t my decisions to make,” Sale said. “I understand where he’s coming from. I respect it. I’ve got to put this team first and foremost. This is the team I’m playing for and that I have a future with. I definitely understand where he’s coming from.”
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Jeff Samardzija and John Danks will starts Games 1 and 2 of Friday’s doubleheader while Jose Quintana will throw Saturday, Ventura said.
While Sale made a strong case to start the All-Star Game on Tuesday, if he doesn’t pitch he’ll have seven full days to rest up before facing the first-place Royals. Given Sale’s likely amped-up state if he did get in the game, it wouldn’t necessarily be a light day for him even if American League (and Kansas City) manager Ned Yost only deployed him for one inning.
“That's always a touchy thing,” Ventura said. “Knowing him, he's pitching on three days (rest), he hasn't done a lot in between starts, it's a lot to ask for a guy to go out there. You know he's going to crank it up.”
Sale, though, offered an alternative that would get him in the game and keep him off the mound, laughing and saying he would be available to pinch hit.