GLENDALE, Ariz. - At 23, Chris Sale seems mature beyond his years. That said, an Opening Day start at U.S. Cellular Field will make him feel like a "kid in a candy shop.''
"It's going to be fun. It's going to be awesome,'' said Sale, a day after manager Robin Ventura made it official and named the All-Star to start his first Opening Day. "My knees are shaking just thinking about it. It's going to be fun, going up there and having our fans from day one. You know the Cell is going to be electric and the fans will be screaming, going nuts.''
The Sox open against the Kansas Royals on April 1. Sale at first tried to downplay the significance of the moment, but he couldn't. He was fourth in the rotation last season, his first as a starter, and recalls being amped up as a spectator.
"I'm definitely going to have to collect myself, that's for sure,'' he said. "Stay focused and take a lot of deep breaths.
"Everyone's excited, the fans are going nuts. And being a part of that now could be overwhelming. I'm going to do everything I can to collect my thoughts and stand on an even plane."
Ventura told Sale on Friday, a week after Sale signed a $32.5 million contract extension. Things are moving fast for him.
"I called my dad the other day and said, 'When am I going to wake up?" Sale said. "When's the wakeup call coming?'' It's a lot to take in, but I'm certainly appreciative of everything. I know what's gone on doesn't happen to a lot of people, so I've noticed that and taken that in. I'm trying to appreciate this and show that I appreciate it."