Chris Sale balancing intensity with spring objectives

Chris Sale balancing intensity with spring objectives
March 5, 2014, 5:15 pm
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Sale missed with a fastball, and yelled out a four-letter word not fit to print.

The habitually intense left-hander was only making a spring training start, but a level of frustration existed after he gave up a three-run home run to San Diego's Nick Hundley in the first inning of Wednesday's game at Camelback Ranch. With that home run, the Padres plated four runs off Sale in the first inning, a regular season rarity for a pitcher who finished 2013 with a 3.07 ERA. In 2 2/3 innings of work, Sale allowed six runs on six hits with one walk and one strikeout.

"Well, you give up four runs in the first, you're going to pick it up a little bit regardless of how you start," Sale said. "Intensity has never really been an issue for me, whether it’s spring training or Game 1 or last game of the season. Any time you are in a game atmosphere for me anyways, the intensity is always there."

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The goal for Sale was to work on getting a better feel for his slider, the kind of stuff pitchers do in Arizona and Florida during the early stages of spring training games. Even with that perspective in mind, manager Robin Ventura didn't feel he had to calm Sale down as things weren't breaking his way.

"That’s just part of the competitiveness," Ventura said. "You would expect that from anybody that has his kind of stuff, to go out there and gives up the runs he did today. Guys are working on stuff. You always see this to happen to guys that are good just because they’re working on stuff."

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Despite his frustration with the results, Sale wasn't disappointed with his outing. He got in the work he expected, and moved one start closer to the regular season.

"We're here for a reason, it’s to prepare yourself," Sale said. "You still want to do well and have success. But I’m definitely not losing any sleep tonight over this one.

"April and May comes around, June and July something like that happens, that’s when it eats at you. We're here to get our work in and results are secondary to that."