Chris Sale knew it was time to speak up when he couldn’t throw a side session in between starts or play long toss.
As much as he wants to pitch in the series finale against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, Sale knows he would have run the risk of injury had he taken the mound. The White Sox scratched Sale from tomorrow’s start with mild tendonitis in his left posterior shoulder.
Hector Santiago will start in place of Sale, who is 5-2 with a 2.53 ERA in 64 innings this season.
“I had to change my in-week regimen around it,” Sale said. “At the end of the day, just something that was said would be better to do for now. Rather miss this one than one down the road, or possibly do something we don’t want to do.”
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White Sox manager Robin Ventura is describing the injury as precautionary. Although the communication between Sale and the coaching staff will result in a missed start, something the pitcher loathes, Ventura hopes his young ace won’t hesitate to do the same again if needed.
“We're protecting him,” Ventura said. “He would more than likely like to pitch. But I think you're looking at a long season, just making sure. It's just different. Before it was something else, elbow-wise. I think you’re just extra careful with somebody with his talent and his age. It's probably something he can pitch with, but it's us being very cautious with him. … I want to make sure he keeps continuing to do that. It's not like he's backing out of anything and leaving anybody high and dry. We have to protect that.”
Sale said the issue flared up after Friday’s start against the Angels. In his past two starts, Sale has limited the Angels to four hits over 16 2/3 innings. He said he informed the White Sox he intended to pitch Wednesday but was convinced by team doctors to not. The plan calls for treatment the next few days and Sale expects to make his next start Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs.
“We collected as a group and sat in a meeting and the doctor explained to me that this is not going to happen,” Sale said. “I just don’t like doing it. I want to be out there. I don’t want to put my job in other people’s hands. That’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to do my job and make every start.”
Santiago will make his start on short rest and only a day after he threw in the bullpen. The left-hander threw 35-40 pitches and said he “kind of got after it” but expects no issues.
"It kind of sucks that I found out after I threw my bullpen today,” Santiago said. “For the most part, I think I’ll be fine. I feel fine right now. I’ll wake up tomorrow and see how it feels.”