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White Sox ace Chris Sale set for simulated game Friday

PEORIA, Ariz.  — Chris Sale said he “felt like a baseball player again” being in uniform with the team and getting some running in Monday.

Sale will throw his second bullpen session Tuesday and is slated for a 75-pitch simulated game Friday, and if all goes well, it’s possible he’ll pitch in one of the final Cactus League games next week.

“It was just good to get him back for his psyche, to get back out here in uniform with everybody,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “To get him off the mound, would be good too, so we’ll see how it goes [Friday].”

Last Friday, Sale threw 60 pitches in a bullpen session, 15 at four sets each.

Sale sustained an avulsion fracture and ankle sprain of his right (landing) foot in an accident at his home on Feb. 27. The Sox won’t need a fifth starter until April 12, and wouldn’t need one again till April 21 because of off-days, so there is no pressure to rush their Cy Young candidate back.

“We are pleased [with Sale’s progress],” Ventura said. “[Trainer] Herm [Schneider] has been through a lot of different things. … the whole medical staff, it’s been a credit to them to get him to this point. From here on out, you’ve got to make sure you’re paying attention to what he’s feeling and how he’s throwing and all those things.”

Soto acquired from Reds

Corner infielder Neftali Soto was acquired from the Reds for cash considerations and will report to Charlotte. Soto, 26 was 3-for-42 over 34 games with the Reds. He hit 31 homers in 2011 at the AA and AAA levels. It was the second minor deal in three days for the Sox, who traded catcher Michael Blanke to the Diamondbacks for cash Saturday.

A different level

Ventura on second baseman Micah Johnson, who made his first error Sunday and made a flat-footed wave with his glove on a hard-hit ball just to his left: “The game’s a little bit faster up here and I think he’s getting a taste of that on the occasion that there are a couple of balls that are a little quicker and there is a technique that can help you do that.” Johnson, who hasn’t played in the majors, is hitting .455.

Good old country hardball

Country recording artist Luke Bryan, a friend of Sox DH/first baseman Adam LaRoche, was a clubhouse visitor and batting practice participant Monday morning. “Bo [Jackson, in camp as a part-time instructor] told me everything about my swing was pretty much awful,’’ Bryan said.