GLENDALE, Ariz. — Chris Sale talked about his 75-pitch B game outing on the back fields of Camelback Ranch Monday morning in almost hushed tones.
Until the subject of his next outing, which will be his first in a Cactus League game, came up.
“I think it’s time to get out to the big field and start playing with the grown-ups,” Sale said, raising his voice and widening his eyes. “No offense to anybody that I might have met [Dodgers prospects]. There’s something to be said for fans being there, being in a big stadium, hearing the noise, the music in between innings.”
In a B game, when the pitching coach decides his pitcher has had enough for one inning, the players come off the field. That won’t happen when Sale faces the real Dodgers Saturday.
“No rollovers,” he said. “If you’re out there getting it handed to you, you’re out there until you get it over with. I’m ready for that.”
Sale has been restricted to live batting practice, simulated games and B games thus far for the purpose of focusing on specifics and keeping him away from AL Central teams like the Royals, whom the Sox played in the afternoon Monday. He’s eager to get on the field with his teammates and regular coaching staff.
“[Manager] Robin [Ventura] introduces himself a couple of times a week to me it seems like,” Sale said. “I don’t feel like such a part of the team anymore. We’ll get there. I think my next time out will be out there. I’ll be ready for it.”
Sale, the Sox’ perennial Cy Young candidate who set a franchise record for strikeouts in 2015, pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and two walks with four strikeouts. He threw 75 pitches, 46 for strikes. He had good life on his fastball and, for him, less than optimum command of his breaking pitch.
“I felt great. I felt fine,” he said. “Command was a little off, but that’s kind of expected getting out there for the first time in a game against someone in a different uniform. It was nice. We did what we needed to do. Just build from there and keep moving forward.”
Alex Avila caught Sale and batted every inning.