KANSAS CITY, Mo. — He has one last hurdle to clear but it appears Chris Sale could return to the mound for the White Sox shortly.
Sale felt good as he participated in a light bullpen session on Tuesday and now the White Sox will wait to see how their two-time All-Star feels before they make a decision on the next step.
But if Sale, who threw roughly 20 pitches in Tuesday’s session, responds well, the White Sox could decide to start him in the team’s upcoming series at home against the New York Yankees.
The White Sox haven’t named a starter for any of the four games against the Yankees in a series that begins at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday.
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“It could be,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He threw free and easy enough to be able to be one of those guys. How early, (Tuesday) is too early to say that. Seeing how he feels going through tonight and (Wednesday), and we’ll make a decision based on that.”
Both Sale and the White Sox have felt confident in the late stages of this process with every step taken. Sale, who is on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 18 with a left flexor muscle strain, felt good after a 68-pitch performance at Triple-A Charlotte on Friday in which he struck out 11 over four scoreless innings.
Sale also played long toss after he rejoined the club on Monday and is optimistic even though he felt normal post-start soreness in his latissimus muscle.
Pitching coach Don Cooper shares Sale’s optimism and said a light bullpen session as Tuesday’s was is par for the course.
“Bullpens become overrated if there isn't anything to work on,” Cooper said. “Chris has always thrown strikes with all of his pitches, so we don't want to pile up more innings in those bullpen sessions. Touch and feel is the best way to describe it.
“It went well and the next step is to decide what and where he does it.”