SEATTLE – Chris Sale came off a stretch of nine starts with a 5.56 ERA and held the Seattle Mariners to one hit in his first start after the All-Star break Monday.
A little rest, and a couple of minor fixes that came out of a beneficial bullpen session with White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper and bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen were big, Sale said.
“A couple keys of mine,’’ Sale said Wednesday. “It’s never anything major, it’s minor, not even changes but just little fixes that get me back to where I need to be.’’
Sale declined to be specific, saying with a smile the adjustments are “top secret.’’ The Sox ace, who is 14-3 with 3.18 ERA, had only four quality starts of his previous nine before Monday’s eight scoreless innings.
Sale was also pitching on nine days rest, aside from his one inning as the American League starter in the All-Star Game.
“It’s always nice to get a break,’’ he said. “You forget not only have you played half the season but all of spring training, too. It’s nice to have a few days in there to give your body a break. You’re constantly, going, going going and to have consecutive off days and good recovery time is big in the middle of the season.’’
Physically, Sale said he feels “really good.’’
“There’s a lot that goes into it, finding a routine, being with [conditioning coach Allen Thomas] in the weight room and the guys in the training room. You go station to station doing your routine and kind of find something that works. You make tweaks from year to year or week to week depending on how you feel but they’re all very open minded here. It’s about getting yourself ready to pitch.’’
Setback for Avila
Catcher Alex Avila, making his second minor-league rehab stint at AAA Charlotte because of a strained right hamstring, was expected back Thursday but is being evaluated after he took himself out of a game Tuesday. The Sox will update Avila’s status Thursday.
The Sox traded right-hander Scott Carroll to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations. Carroll was 2-8 with a 5.55 ERA at Charlotte. He was 6-11 with a 4.60 ERA over the past three seasons of up-and-down major league service time with the Sox, including 19 starts in 2014.
Turner gets another shot
Former Cub Jacob Turner, who gave up eight runs over four-plus innings in his first start as a Sox Sunday, gets a second shot Friday against the Tigers in Carlos Rodon’s vacant spot.
Ventura liked the way Turner’s fastball looked against the Angels but said he’ll have to change speeds more effectively against a tough Tigers lineup.
“He’s going to make some adjustments,’’ Ventura said. “His changeup is better than what he showed in the last outing. He has to mix it up.’’
Rodon “has to feel well enough to do all the things he needs to go through to be ready to pitch in a big league game,’’ Ventura said. “There will probably be a rehab start. He hasn’t been able to let it go since he hurt his wrist.’’
TIGERS AT WHITE SOX
Mike Pelfrey (2-9, 4.95) vs. James Shields (2-4, 6.43), 7:10 p.m, CSN, 890-AM, 1200-AM
Friday: Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.13) vs. Jacob Turner (0-1, 18.00), 7:10, CSN, 890-AM, 1200-AM
Saturday: Matt Boyd (1-2, 4.91) vs. Chris Sale (14-3, 3.18), 6:10, CSN, 890-AM, 1200-AM
Sunday: TBA vs. Jose Quintana (8-8, 3.13), 1:10 p.m. Ch. 9, 890-AM, 1200-AM