Sale working on amove to first
Ace practices keeping runners close while waiting for first start
GLENDALE, Ariz.— Chris Sale is the first to admit his move to first base needs work.
“My move is terrible over there,’’ Sale said Friday morning after throwing the equivalent of three- plus innings against live hitters at Camelback Ranch. “That’s the main reason why we are working on it — to get a little bit better. Something a little bit more natural looking than picking up, lifting up and going over.’’
Pitching coach Don Cooper admits the pickoff move by lefty pitchers is not his forte. But Class AA Birmingham pitching coach J. R. Perdew has some expertise. Lefty Carlos Rodon also received instructional tips on his move. “Top- secret stuff,’’ Sale said. Sale, who is one of the best at keeping runners off base, knows holding runners on base is also in the job description.
“A lot of times catchers get flak for not throwing them out,” Sale said. “But a lot of times it’s on us getting it there quick and keeping them honest at first.”
For the purpose of staying fresh, avoiding injury and sidestepping teams he might face during the regular season, the Sox’ four- time All- Star isn’t scheduled to pitch in a Cactus League game until March 19, but he’s getting plenty of throwing in. Before Jacob Turner started the Cactus League game against the Indians on the big field, Sale was on a back field getting his work in.
“It’s a more controlled environment,’’ he said. “You can pick and choose what you want to do and work on. Stuff like that. It went well.’’
Sale broke Adam Eaton’s bat ( Eaton jokingly asked Sale to sign it). Moments like that will have to do for quenching Sale’s competitive juices. Sale admits he wouldn’t mind pitching in games now, though.
“Yeah, especially hearing Johnny [ Danks] talking about getting out there yesterday [ in the Cactus League opener],’’ Sale said. “It’s tough. You want to play. But I get where we are at. My first X amount of starts, I think three or four were against teams we were playing right out of the gate or in the division early on. They didn’t want the whole ‘ getting looks’ thing. [ But] you want to play in games. That’s why we are down here.’’
Cooper was in a jovial mood, perhaps because Sale, Rodon and right- hander Erik Johnson’s side sessions all went “really good.”
“What a great morning,’’ Cooper said. “Sale left here today feeling very good because we had focused work on certain stuff. It might be arm- side two- seamers. It might be fastballs in on a righty. It could be different things, different days.’’
The 6- 6 Sale also revealed he’s 10 pounds heavier than he was last spring. His weight is up to 190.
“Moving up on my venture to 200, which is still skinny for me,” said Sale, who turns 27 on March 30. “Every year, trying to [ gain weight].’’
Chris Sale, who gained 10 pounds in the offseason, spent some time Fridaywith Class AA coach J. R. Perdew working on his pickoffmove to first base.