White Sox’ Chris Sale named AL Pitcher of the Month

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Chris Sale struck out 75 batters and walked eight over 44 1/3 innings in June. AP

White Sox left-hander Chris Sale, who had a spectacular and historic month of June, was named American League Pitcher of the Month Thursday.

Sale pitched to a 1.83 ERA over six starts and 44 1/3 innings, striking out 75 and walking nine. In the Sox’ 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in 11 innings Tuesday, he joined Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez as the only pitchers to record 10 or more strikeouts in eight consecutive games. Sale struck out 12 over eight innings.

Sale’s 75 strikeouts in June broke left-hander Juan Pizarro’s franchise monthly record of 61 set in August 1961 and are the most in the majors since Nolan Ryan set the modern-era monthly record of 87 with California in June 19

Sale averaged 15.2 strikeouts per nine innings and posted a 9.38 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

This is Sale’s second AL Pitcher of the Month award. In May of 2012, his first season as a starter, Sale went 4–1, with a 1.71 ERA and 35 strikeouts over six games.

“Everybody has a different mindset coming to the ballpark when Sale is pitching that day,” White Sox right-hander Daniel Webb said.

“It’s fun to watch. We’re down there in the bullpen pulling for him and it’s like ‘How many punchouts is that now?’ We know all about the 10-strikeout games he’s had. It’s impressive, and it’s cool to be a part of that as a teammate.”

Sale leads the major leagues with 141 strikeouts, the second-highest total in club history before the All-Star Break, one behind Wilbur Wood’s mark of 142 set in 1973. Sale will likely start two more times before the break. Sale is officially listed as the Sox’ starter for Sunday against the Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field, but manager Robin Ventura said Wednesday Sale might get an extra day of rest and pitch Monday against Toronto and former Sox Mark Buehrle. Sale would also be in line to start against the Cubs at Wrigley Field next weekend.

Sox sign top-30 international prospects

The Sox signed four 16-year-old international prospects, including two rated among the top 30 by MLB.com — outfielder Franklin Reyes and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.

Reyes, ranked 30th, was signed for a reported $1.5 million, and Tatis Jr. ranked 27, signed for $700,000. Tatis Jr. is the the son of former major league third baseman Fernando Tatis.

Shortstop Santo Vasquez and switch-hitting outfielder Brayant Nova round out the group. All four are from the Dominican Republic.

Only six teams have higher bonus pools than the Sox’ alloted $3.4 million this year. The Sox will make more international signings in the coming months.

“We continue to add waves of very talented young players to our system,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said. “All of this success will ultimately pay off in Chicago in seasons to come.”

Class AAA All-Stars

Charlotte Knightsthird basemanMatt Davidson, right-hander Erik Johnson, outfielderTrayce Thompsonand left-handerZach Phillipswere named to the Class AAA All-Star Game on July 15 in Omaha, Neb.

Davidson (.234) was tied for the International League lead in home runs (13) and has 41 RBI, the fifth-highest total in the league this season. Johnson is 7-5 with a 2.86 ERA in 15 games. He leads the IL with 96 strikeouts and is ninth in ERA at 2.86.

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