Sale work­ing on amove to first

Ace prac­tices keep­ing run­ners close while wait­ing for first start

Chicago Sun-Times - - SOX BEAT - DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Fol­low me on Twit­ter @ CST_ sox­van. Email: dvan­schouwen@ sun­times. com

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.

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