White Sox give Chris Sale a ‘dead-arm’ break
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org July 29, 2012 10:52PM
Chris Sale was slated to pitch Wednesday, but the Sox are going to give him an extended break. | Getty Images
Sox at Twins
The facts: 7:10, Ch. 26, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The starters: Jose Quintana (4-1, 2.58 ERA) vs. Cole De Vries (2-2, 3.64).
The rest of the seris
Tuesday: 7:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM. Francisco Liriano (3-10, 5.31) vs. Nick Blackburn (4-6, 7.99).
Wednesday: 12:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM. Jake Peavy (8-7, 3.15) vs. Scott Diamond (9-4, 2.88).
Updated: August 31, 2012 6:17AM
ARLINGTON, Texas — New White Sox left-hander Francisco Liriano will start against his former team Tuesday at Target Field in Minneapolis.
That’s the immediate impact of general manager Ken Williams’ trade of rookie Eduardo Escobar and minor-league pitcher Pedro Hernandez to the Twins for Liriano. The short-term impact is the extra rest a new starter gives to the rest of a rotation that can use it, particularly prized lefty Chris Sale.
Sale, slated to pitch Wednesday but dealing with what he’s calling “fatigue” or a “dead-arm period,” doesn’t know when he’ll pitch next. He said he isn’t sore.
“No, not at all,’’ said Sale, who missed time in May because of a tender elbow. “Going through a little dead-arm period, I guess. Nothing terrible, nothing anyone else doesn’t go through. We all feel this is something that’s going to benefit us and benefit myself, a few extra days off so the next couple of months we can make a push and get after it.’’
Jose Quintana will pitch the Twins series opener Monday on five days of rest and Jake Peavy on Wednesday on six days. Quintana is a rookie and Peavy a veteran two years removed from major surgery who ranks fourth in the American League in innings with 140. Gavin Floyd and Philip Humber spent recent stints on the disabled list with elbow soreness. So none of them objects to extra time.
“Late in the season, you can use a little rest,’’ Peavy said. “We did this last year and pitched pretty well. We should benefit, but at the same time, you can lose a little bit of feel if you go too long without being on a mound, so there’s a little altering that goes on there, too. You have to find a routine where you stay sharp.’’
Manager Robin Ventura hasn’t set the rotation past the Twins series, but the plan is to use some variation of a six-man unit as the Sox used for stretches last season. The goal is to be ready for the September grind.
“That’s another part of it, trying to be as strong as you can when you get into September,’’ Ventura said, “that you’re rolling with five guys, and you’re rolling with the five best guys.”
The primary concern is Sale (12-3, 2.61 ERA), whose fastball Friday hovered around 90, a few mph slower than he’s accustomed to. He has allowed five earned runs in each of his last two starts. It’s not out of the question that he gets a rest that approaches the 12-day rest he had around the All-Star break.
“There’s no pain or anything in there,’’ Ventura said. “We’ll see how that sits when we’re in Minnesota and how he feels.’’
Liriano, who was slated to pitch Sunday for the Twins, said he would welcome an opportunity to face them, especially in Minneapolis. A free agent after the season, he expected to be traded, but not to the Twins’ rival.
“I was very surprised,’’ Liriano said.
Liriano said pitching in a contract year affected him early in the season. He struggled with his location and was demoted to the bullpen. Since coming back, he has a 3.68 ERA and 79 strikeouts with 29 walks in 66 innings. He had a 15-strikeout game against the Athletics, and his only bad start since was against the Sox last week when he was shelled for seven earned runs in 22/3 innings. He pitched a no-hitter against the Sox at U.S. Cellular Field last season.
His addition follows Williams’ acquisitions of third baseman Kevin Youkilis and relief pitcher Brett Myers in trades.
“Our guys have been going at it full tilt,’’ Williams said. “We needed a veteran presence.’’
And an extra arm in the rotation, which, for now, sits with three lefties and three right-handers. That is, while Sale is participating.
“I would rather have this extended time now rather than when September comes around,’’ Sale said.