ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - That cringe felt around the South Side when left-hander Chris Sale trotted out to start the eighth inning of his 15-strikeout game Monday was understandable.
Sale had thrown 110 pitches, had missed a start with a tender left elbow and is pitching like one of the best in baseball. He appreciates the concern but assures everyone he's going to be fine.
"I feel good,'' Sale said after throwing long toss on Tuesday. "Everything is fine. I've been working with [director of conditioning Allen Thomas] in the weight room, with the training staff, doing extra work and it's paying off.''
Sale got almost as fired up about the subject of finishing with 115 pitches as he did at an umpire's call at second base Monday.
"Everybody's got their opinion, good bad or indifferent,'' Sale said. "I got nothing for that. I was in a groove and they let me back out there and I appreciate that.''
Sale and manager Robin Ventura both pointed to the extra day of rest Sale gets with Thursday's off day.
"I probably wouldn't be able to do that every time out but occasionally it's not going to hurt,'' Sale said.
Ventura said Sale went five-to-10 pitches beyond what was planned before the game.
"I get the question but most of it is how he was throwing it,'' Ventura said. "The times before he's been out there, the way he's going about it, the kind of pitches he's throwing, getting in and out of innings, how he's feeling. He has certain kinds of sliders - how many he throws with the extreme torque. We monitor all that stuff. I don't have any question about it.''
Sale, who grew up in Lakeland, Fla., said Monday's game was the highlight of his pitching career. The performance came with many friends and family in attendance at the park where he watched his first major league game. He came within one strikeout of tying the White Sox record of 16 set by Jack Harshman in 1954.