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Chris Sale looks to be White Sox opening day starter, but Ventura won’t commit

Updated: April 13, 2013 6:35AM



GLENDALE, Ariz. — It’s the worst-kept secret in the Cactus League, but White Sox manager Robin Ventura refuses to cave in.

While most other teams have already named their Opening Day starters, Ventura remains coy, even if everyone knows All-Star left-hander Chris Sale is his man to face the Kansas City Royals on April 1 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Sale is working on a schedule that puts him in line for Opening Day, plus he has been endorsed by his main competition, veteran Jake Peavy.

After Sale pitched five-plus innings Monday, allowing one run and three hits in a 3-1 victory against the Colorado Rockies, Ventura was asked if he was finally ready to end the mystery.

“No,” Ventura said with a smile. “We’re just going to keep going and see how everybody does.”

Really? Why not?

“We’re just not ready to do it yet,” Ventura said. “We’ll see how everybody does in the next couple of weeks and go from there.”

Sale, who signed a five-year, $32.5 million extension last week, continues to round into shape, throwing 58 pitches against the Rockies, then tossing 15 more in the bullpen.

“Today was one of those clicking-on-all-cylinders days,” Sale said. “My arm felt free, felt loose. It felt like I had good command of all my pitches. Just a good day. Had some fun out there and just relaxed and went out and attacked the zone.”

Ten sent packing

After the game, the White Sox announced 10 roster moves.

Right-handed pitcher Simon Castro and left-hander Santos Rodriguez were optioned to Class AAA Charlotte. Right-hander Nestor Molina was optioned to Class AA Birmingham. And outfielders Stefan Gartrell, Trayce Thompson and Keenyn Walker, infielders Seth Loman and Marcus Semien, left-hander Scott Snodgress and right-hander Erik Johnson were reassigned to the minor-league camp.

“Everybody is going to get more playing time, so there isn’t much room for them to get a lot of playing time,” Ventura said.

The Sox have 45 players in major-league camp: 23 pitchers, four catchers, 11 infielders and seven outfielders.

Keppinger update

Infielder Jeff Keppinger continued to get treatment for the slight irritation in his right shoulder and is scheduled to resume throwing Wednesday.

“He should be in there in a couple of days,” Ventura said. “He might be able to hit or DH in a day or so. Throwing-wise, probably a couple of days. He’s going to be ready to play.”



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