Chris Sale returns to action Monday after a nine-day layoff, part of the White Sox plans to aid the first-year starter through the season.
“They came to me in Texas [his last start July 27] and said they were thinking about doing some things, and the other day they told me what was going on,” said Sale, who has continued to throw side sessions. “It was their call anyway.
“It’s nice to be able to do it now [adding rest days] so the last couple months we can really make a push and nothing like this will hopefully come up again. We can just go through these two months every fifth day or whatever they have now for us.”
Sale’s velocity had declined in recent starts, prompting the team to turn to the six-man rotation format to help Sale.
But Sale said he anticipated a slip in his velocity.
“It’s something that I knew was going to happen. I didn’t expect myself to be throwing hard the entire season, especially later on getting into August and September,” he said.
“We’re hoping this is the kind of rest he needs to get him through what he’s going through, to go out and pitch the way he’s capable of pitching,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s not maximum effort [velocity] like he was in the bullpen [last season.] That’s one of the things that’s extended him as a start, that he’s below what he was as a reliever and been able to extend that over seven, eight innings.
“It was just down to a point where it makes you look at it a little differently. Talking to him, he’s just tired.”
Sale said he is learning how to get through games when he doesn’t have his best velocity or effectiveness.
“For right now, it’s just finding a way. Whatever I’ve got on a given day, you’ve got to go out there and keep pitching. You can’t get down on yourself on days where you might not have your best stuff. You’ve still got guys fighting to win and you’ve still got to fight with them.”
Sale’s situation is not the same as that of Washington Nationals star Stephen Strasburg, who is returning from Tommy John surgery. The Nationals have said they not let him pitch more than 140 innings. The Sox have not indicated doing something like that.
“At the end of the day, it’s their call, not ours,” Sale said. “We’re the players and we go out there and play hard and whenever they want us to play, we do. At the end of the day, they have the final say, so we ust have to respect them and trust that they know what they’re doing and everything will work out in the end.”