Lots of love for Sale in Chicago
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.
Boston ace Chris Sale returned to Chicago on Monday.