Sale to start season finale on Sunday

White Sox shut down Saladino for final four games of 2016

Sale to start season finale on Sunday

CHICAGO -- White Sox ace Chris Sale will make the start Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field in the season finale against the Twins, as announced by manager Robin Ventura Thursday.

"At first you can look at it like he doesn't necessarily have to throw. But I think he wants to throw and that's a good sign," Ventura said. "He's motivated to throw.

"We're not doing it for numbers or anything, but he wants to throw. I think that's part of his commitment to being a teammate and all that stuff. So we'll have a pretty good lineup out there."

Sale will be trying to join Jack McDowell (1993), LaMarr Hoyt (1983) and Early Wynn (1959) as American League Cy Young winners from the White Sox. Sale has finished in the top six of the AL voting every season from 2012-15.

His 5.3 fWAR puts Sale first among AL pitchers, with his 1.03 WHIP ranking third and his opponents average of .225 sitting fourth. Although he de-emphasized the strikeout this season, looking to get outs earlier in the count, Sale has still posted the second-highest single-season total of his career at 227.

After throwing seven innings Tuesday to earn victory No. 17, matching a career-high, Sale left it up to the coaching staff if he would pitch again in '16. He won't get a chance to improve on his Major League best six complete games, but he won't be on a strict three or four inning sort of watch.

"It won't be four or five, but it won't be nine," Ventura said. "Well, if he has a no-hitter, it's a possibility. If there's something special there and his pitch count and everything and he's feeling good, he would go.

"For the most part he's not going to go nine. It would be very easy for him to just say he's had enough and not pitch. That's a good testament to finishing out the year and doing it right."

Saladino finished for 2016

Tyler Saladino, who has had a breakout season as a super utility player and in taking over as starting second baseman for Brett Lawrie since Lawrie's July 21 injury, will not play in the final four games this season. Saladino has been bothered by a sore back, limiting him to two games played and eight at-bats since Sept. 17.

This back issue first crept up on Saladino in late April, per Ventura, when Kevan Smith dealt with his back problem in Toronto.

"His back hasn't necessarily responded as well as we'd like," Ventura said. "He definitely would have been a DL situation if it was back during the year. We've got to figure out a way to get him right before he heads home.

"Any time you talk about a back you worry about making sure you take care of it and you treat and do everything you need to do to be ready for Spring Training, just because it usually takes a while with a back to do that. We're being very careful and that's why he's not going to play the rest of the year."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.