Lots of love for Sale in Chicago

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JAY CO­HEN

CHICAGO — Chris Sale smiled as he talked about his time in Chicago. The White Sox praised Sale’s work ethic and at­ti­tude, and Bos­ton Red Sox man­ager John Far­rell called him a true com­peti­tor and great team­mate. There was lots of love for Sale on Mon­day, from ev­ery corner of his long­time home.

The left-han­der re­ceived a warm wel­come in his re­turn to Chicago fol­low­ing his trade to Bos­ton last win­ter. The White Sox and Red Sox opened a three-game se­ries un­der a beau­ti­ful blue sky, with Sale set to pitch against his for­mer team Tues­day night for the first time.

Sale, 28, de­vel­oped into one of the game’s most dom­i­nant pitch­ers dur­ing his time with the White Sox, mak­ing the All-Star team in each of his last five years with them. It has been more of the same so far with the Red Sox, with Sale strik­ing out at least 10 in eight of his first 10 starts with his new team.

“He’s about one thing, and that’s about win­ning,” Far­rell said. “So we’re grate­ful he’s in our uni­form.”

Sale is 4-0 with a 3.57 ERA in five May starts, help­ing Bos­ton keep up with the New York Yan­kees in the chal­leng­ing AL East. Not only does he get his for­mer team in his next start, but he also runs up against fel­low lefty and good friend Jose Quin­tana in what is sure to be a some­what awk­ward re­union for ev­ery­one in­volved.

“Throw­ing on the same day will be a dif­fer­ent feel­ing for me be­cause he was the best team­mate I ever played with,” Quin­tana said. “It will be a dif­fer­ent feel­ing watch­ing him go against me af­ter the last four years when he was my team­mate. We talked last night. He said: ‘Hey, I’m in town. I can’t wait to see you guys.’ So I’m ex­cited to play against him.”

The 6-foot-6 Sale didn’t make his first start un­til his third year in the ma­jors, but he took off from there. He went 70-47 with a 3.04 ERA from 2012-2016, av­er­ag­ing 10 strike­outs per nine in­nings.

But the fiery Sale clashed with White Sox man­age­ment at times, in­clud­ing a five-day sus­pen­sion last year for tak­ing scis­sors to throw­back uni­forms he said were un­com­fort­able. He also com­plained dur­ing spring train­ing about new lim­its on Adam LaRoche’s son hang­ing around the club­house, a man­age­ment de­ci­sion that prompted LaRoche to re­tire.

Per­haps most im­por­tantly, the White Sox fin­ished with a los­ing record in each of the last four years. Look­ing to jump-start his re­build­ing project, gen­eral man­ager Rick Hahn traded Sale to the Red Sox last De­cem­ber for a pack­age of four prospects that in­cluded highly re­garded slug­ger Yoan Mon­cada.

ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Bos­ton ace Chris Sale re­turned to Chicago on Mon­day.

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