White Sox mindful of Sale's innings count

White Sox mindful of Sale's innings count

White Sox mindful of Sale's innings count
CHICAGO -- With another quality start turned in by Chris Sale during Sunday's series finale against the Mariners, the left-hander will inch closer to his Major League season-high of 71 innings pitched set in 2011. Sale's baseball high stands at 136 2/3 innings from 2010, when he pitched for Florida Gulf Coast University, Class A Winston-Salem, Triple-A Charlotte and the White Sox.

It seems unlikely that Sale will jump from 136 innings to near 200 in his first year as starter. So the White Sox will give him another respite at some point in the not too distant future in order to have the 23-year-old strong for the stretch run.

"He's already had one [break from May 1-12] and you look at the All-Star break and there's another one that could be of significant time," said White Sox general manager Ken Williams, indicating that Sale could get some time off before the break and then be used later to extend that rest. "Perhaps there is another one to get him to be strong through the end of the season."

"Obviously I know there's going to be something coming up soon," Sale said. "That's something we haven't sat down as a group and talked about yet. We are going to have to kind of figure something out. As of right now, I'm not really worried about that. My body feels good. My mind is in the right spot. So, I'm really just focused on the next one."

Sale's last "one" produced 15 strikeouts against Tampa Bay, one short of matching the White Sox single-game record. He leads the AL with a 2.34 ERA, and at 6-2 overall, that All-Star rest might be hampered by Sale getting selected as an AL representative.

The White Sox also may have the playoffs in mind, even four months away, when talking about Sale's breaks. If the postseason were to begin Saturday, Sale certainly would be one of the team's first two starters.

As far as an ultimate innings target, Sale believes that can be adjusted as the season progresses.

"What if they say, 'This is the innings' and we get to the innings and I'm still feeling good or vice versa," Sale said. "It's hard to pinpoint what a number is, especially the way this season rolls out. It's something that will probably come up and will have to adjust accordingly."

"Whatever we have to do to protect his health and to make sure he's strong at the end of the season, we'll do it," Williams said. "And that's whether or not at that given time it's in the team's best interest or not."