GLENDALE, Ariz. — Mike Trout banked Chris Sale’s changeup off the back of the bullpen beyond the left-field wall Thursday. Two batters later, the Angels’ C.J. Cron hit a pitch even farther, over the bullpen.
“The sixth inning got away a little bit,” the White Sox ace said. “But that’s what we’re here for, to build up and use that as fuel …
“Sometimes you get out there and you’ve only got three innings, you don’t feel like it was a real start. (Thursday) felt as natural as it possibly could be, which was nice.”
Eleven days before he makes his Opening Day start, Sale put in his last heavy workday of the spring, throwing 88 pitches and another 17 in the bullpen
Results aside — he allowed eight hits and four earned runs in six innings, striking out five and walking one in a 6-5 loss to the Angels — Sale was happy.
“That was the main going into this game … to try and treat it like a normal game,” he said. “Get yourself a normal pitch count and go out and see what you can do.”
Thursday marked Sale’s second Cactus League start. His next outing will likely feature fewer pitches as he prepares for April 4 in Oakland.
He said his arm feels great and his body good, and “that’s half the battle down here.” He assigned some significance to allowing runs, even in the spring.
“When you’re in season, you’re in game mode, you’re in attack mode, you’re in winning mode,” he said. “There’s a little bit different feel out here, but at the end of the day winning games is still important.”
Manager Robin Ventura didn’t seem worried about his workload, jokingly warning against Sale’s real spring training danger before the game.
“Keep him away from trucks and things like that,” he said, “and we’ll be good.”
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