Manager Robin Robin Ventura referenced Sale’s workload as a reason he would want him to sit out Tuesday’s game at Cincinnati, although he sounded undecided if he would make a formal request to American League manager Ned Yost.
In an interesting aside, if Sale doesn’t pitch Tuesday, Ventura would be comfortable starting his left-hander next Sunday against Yost’s Kansas City Royals. If Sale pitches, Ventura said he might consider moving Sale to the following series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“Those aren’t my decisions to make, but I understand where [Ventura] is coming from,” Sale said. “I respect it. I’ve got to put this team first and foremost. This is the team I’m playing for and that I have a future with. I definitely understand where he’s coming from.”
After fracturing a bone in his right foot and getting off to a slow start, Sale has been on fire since a May 12 start at Milwaukee, going 6-3 with a 1.76 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 12 starts since then.
But Sale has also averaged a healthy 114 pitches in those 12 starts as his strikeout totals started to soar.
“I feel fine,” Sale said. “I would say I probably feel as good as I ever have. I’ve done a lot this year to be ready for my starts and on those in-between days. Just leaning on the guys that with [strength coach Allen Thomas] and [trainers] Herm [Schneider] and Brian [Ball] in the training room, leaning on those guys to get myself prepared for everything.”
What Sale hasn’t done a lot between starts, though, is throw bullpen sessions. While some starters treat the All-Star Game as an over-glorified between-start bullpen session, for Sale it would merely be an outing — albeit a brief one — on just two days’ rest.
“That’s always a touchy thing,” Ventura said. “Knowing him, he’s pitching on three days, he hasn’t done a lot in between starts, it’s a lot to ask for a guy to go out there. You know he’s going to crank it up.”
Sale has combined for four innings over his three All-Star appearances, striking out four batters. He pitched in the 2013 game and worked two scoreless innings, earning the victory. He gave up a run in relief during last year’s game.
“It’s always a fun time,” Sale said. “My friends and family are coming up there. My sister and my brother and law are coming up for the first time. [Not pitching is] still nothing to hang your head about.”