White Sox suspend Chris Sale for five games
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Chris Sale’s actions in the White Sox’ clubhouse Saturday, when he tore apart throwback jerseys to be worn for the game, brought a five-game suspension Sunday. They also brought assurances that the matter will have no impact on his trade status.
“I want to make clear the actions of the last 24 hours doesn’t change in any respect our belief that Chris Sale can help this team win a championship,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said. “It’s doesn’t move the needle one iota [on Sale’s trade status].
In a statement released before he met with reporters, Hahn said Sale was suspended “for violating team rules, for insubordination and for destroying team equipment. While we all appreciate Chris’ talent and passion, there is a correct way and an incorrect way to express concerns about team rules and organizational expectations.”
Hahn said he spoke to Sale after the incident Saturday and again Sunday briefly by telephone when he told him of the suspension.
Sale is eligible to return Thursday, possibly to start the final game of the series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Hahn said Sale “might not have agreed’’ with the suspension, “but he understood where we were coming from.’’
Hahn said the decision was made in consultation with team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and vice president Ken Williams, though Williams was not at the ballpark when the incident occurred.
Hahn would not comment directly on what happened when Sale reportedly cut up the 1976 replica jerseys players were to wear as part of a promotion planned in the spring. The same replica jerseys were distributed to 20,000 fans attending the game.
Sale was to have started Saturday but didn’t want to wear the uniform because it was uncomfortable.
Hahn added it will be up to Sale how he will talk to teammates and the coaching staff when he returns.
He said the incident will have no impact on how the Sox deal with trade talks that could involve the Cy Young Award candidate, adding he had no impression from Sale that the lefty wants to be traded.
“He goes through this every year,’’ Hahn said of trade rumors.
Manager Robin Ventura said Sunday he hadn’t spoken to Sale.
“It’s something you deal with. We’ll deal with it internally and when he gets back,’’ Ventura said.
Several teammates stuck up for Sale.
“Chris is Chris,’’ James Shields said. “He’s one of the better teammates I’ve been around. He has the players’ backs.
“We go through different things in your career. It’s a brotherhood in here. We have each others’ backs.’’
Todd Frazier predicted players would put the matter behind them.
“It’s a situation that happened. You can’t really look back on it, and that’s basically all I can really say.’’