It's been 10 days since Chris Sale's last start, in which he allowed five runs in 6 13 innings as his velocity continued to drop in Texas. On Monday, he'll make his return to the White Sox rotation, and he's confident the break has done him some good.
"It's nice to be able to do it now so the last couple months we can really make a push and nothing like this will hopefully come up again," Sale said Sunday. "We can just go through these two months every fifth day or whatever they have now for us, make a good push these last couple months and put all this stuff behind us."
The hope is that Sale's fastball velocity will return to to the 92 mph range it's averaged this season. But if it doesn't, that's not going to stop Sale from pitching through it.
"Like I said before, if it's there, cool," Sale said of his normal velocity. "If not, you've still got to pitch. It doesn't matter how hard it's going. Just whatever it is, you've still got to make pitches and get outs. Whether it's hard, soft, slow, in, out, up, whatever. You've got to get outs somehow."
Sale has thrown 124 innings this season and is nearing his 2010 cumulative total of 133 23, which was compiled in college with Florida Gulf Coast and in professional ball with two minor-league affiliates and the White Sox. But Sale had an extended break that year and pitched exclusively out of the bullpen after turning pro.
In his first year as a starter, Sale figured he'd run into a velocity dip as his innings continued to pile up.
"I didn't expect myself to be throwing hard the entire season, especially later on getting into August and September," Sale said. "But for right now, it's just finding a way. Whatever I've got on a given day, you've got to go out there and keep pitching, You can't get down on yourself on days where you might not have your best stuff."
The White Sox won't have Sale on a pitch count Monday, which shouldn't come as a surprise given he's thrown 100 or more pitches in 13 of his 18 starts.
"Its just more of how hes feeling, being able to talk to him and communicate," manager Robin Ventura said. "He says hes feeling fine and ready to go."
With under two months left in the season and the White Sox employing a six-man rotation, Sale doesn't expect to be given another 10-day break between now and October. But until this season is over, Sale's status will be monitored extremely closely.
"We haven't talked about anything like that," Sale said of getting more extended rest. "We'll see. I don't want to sit here and tell you I can and then something freakish happens. At the same time, I don't want to sit here and say I can't because I want to and believe I can. It's something we'll be on top of to the end and we'll see where it takes us."