Chris Sale has played catch the past two days but still needs to take the next step if he’s to be activated by the White Sox for Saturday.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Monday the left-hander, who is on the disabled list retroactive to April 18 with a left flexor muscle strain, has said he feels better. But Sale would need to throw in the bullpen and have the White Sox convinced he’s good to go if they were to allow him to pitch in Cleveland on Saturday. Ventura did say his two-time All-Star wouldn’t need a rehab start if he quickly returns to the field.
“I don’t know if it’s any point where you can know for sure that he’s going to be throwing when that turn comes up (Saturday),” Ventura said. “But he’s feeling better and you continue to monitor it. He’s the one that will let you know when he’s feeling good enough. He’ll know when he’s ready.”
Because they have worked with Sale in a similar fashion the past two years, both Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper are confident in the process. They know he’ll be honest about his status -- if he’s not right, Sale won’t push through pain. And so the White Sox also know they’re being prudent with their ace, who signed a five-year, $32.5-million deal that could keep him in town through 2019.
“The last few years he’s had something and we shut him down,” Cooper said. “Why? Because we wanted to take care of him and that’s what we’re doing right now. And when he’s able to go, he’ll be out there and really not one second before.”
Asked if the White Sox are being more cautious this time with Sale, who is on the DL for the first time, Ventura thinks they were in 2012. Having experienced this situation with the ace twice before, the White Sox had a pretty good idea what Sale was experiencing before he got an MRI.
“It’s the same,” Ventura said. “It’s the same. The times before, the first time we were more cautious than anything moving him from being a starter. But having gone through it this is just part of stuff that has happened to him before, you just want to make sure.”