GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Sale wasn't concerned with whether he'd be the White Sox Opening Day starter or not, but manager Robin Ventura cleared that up after Saturday's game. Sale, who turns 24 at the end of March, will get his first Opening Day start on April 1 when the White Sox kick off the 2013 season against Kansas City at U.S. Cellular Field.
The announcement hardly came as a surprise, given Sale had a team-best 3.05 ERA in 192 innings last year and made the AL All-Star team. The timing of the news, though, was designed by Ventura to add a little fire to the final two weeks of spring training.
"It’s something for him to be motivated the last two weeks and get out there and go," Ventura said. "He’s ready to do that.”
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Sale allowed five runs on seven hits with two walks over five innings against Oakland Saturday at Camelback Ranch, struggling with command for the early part of his outing. The left-hander said he was trying to throw the ball too hard, which led to throwing more hittable offerings. With just over two weeks until his first start, Sale was hardly worried about his Cactus League showing on Saturday.
"A lot of people might look at this as a step back or a setback anyways, but I don't. It's all part of the curve," Sale said. "It comes with the territory, you're not going to go out and be great every time. You're going to run into some rough outings, My main thing is to kind of focus on what happened, take the positives from this and learn from it, not have it be a setback."
Ventura said Sale's lack of command may have been the product of the left-hander being anxious to start the season. With the Opening Day decision being handed down to him, the White Sox are confident Sale won't run into the same issues on April 1 he did Saturday.
"We feel very confident with him going forward and giving him the ball for the first start," Ventura said.