KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chris Sale pitched five innings in a minor league game in Arizona Monday, his final step of a recovery process after suffering an avulsion fracture to his right foot. The ace lefthander is expected to join the White Sox in Kansas City and is penciled in to pitch his first game Sunday on the team’s first homestand.
Sale threw 72 pitches over five innings, striking out seven, walking two and allowing a run on three hits.
Sale injured the foot in a mishap at his home in Arizona on Feb. 27 and did not pitch in a Cactus League game.
“This was the last hurdle,” general manager Rick Hahn said Monday before the Sox played the Royals in their season opener. “Based on everything I heard so far, it sounds like everything went well.”
The Sox’ other significant pitcher on the disabled list, right-handed reliever Jake Petricka (forearm strain) is not as close as Sale, even though he is eligible to come off the DL Saturday.
“He’s coming along well. He’s progressing,” Hahn said. “He played some long toss yesterday. We have a side scheduled for [Tuesday]. I don’t think he’s going to be able to be activated on Saturday when his 15 days will be up. I’m optimistic it will be some point in the not too distant future after that, hopefully on the road trip [next week in Cleveland and Detroit].”
The Sox open at home against the Twins on Friday and also host the Twins Saturday and Sunday. Hector Noesi is slated to start Friday, and Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija is lined up for Saturday. Rain is forecast at times during the Kansas City series, and a rainout could alter the rotation schedule.