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What dog days? Sale feeling strong with 6 weeks to go

MINNEAPOLIS – Chris Sale will make his 23rd start of the season on Saturday night, and when he’s done he’ll probably be somewhere near the 165-inning mark for the season with possibly seven starts to go if he goes to the finish line with his usual rest between starts.

That could put him around 215 innings at season’s end. In his first season as a starter in 2012, Sale pitched 192, but there are no signs of Sale hitting a wall as he zooms into uncharted territory.

“I feel better at this point than I did last year,’’ Sale said Friday. “In between starts was a little bit of a struggle last year. I definitely felt the wear and tear, which is kind of expected going through the first year. But I have a plan that gets me where I need to be on the fifth day. And I’ve been feeling strong, so ride it out as long as I can.’’

Manager Robin Ventura said extra rest down the stretch for the starters as a unit has been discussed. September call-ups will likely include Erik Johnson and Charlie Leesman, which could mean an extra day here and there.

“It depends on who those guys are and how often,’’ Ventura said.

Sale had a minor shoulder setback last year and he missed one start this year because of a tender elbow. Since then, it’s been smooth sailing.

“This last off-season I probably trained harder than I have in the past,’’ he said. “I definitely trained more. Also, they’ve watched out for me where I needed that extra day’s rest.’’