Sox’ Chris Sale sometimes can be feisty to a fault
July 15, 2013 10:11PM
Updated: August 17, 2013 6:47AM
NEW YORK — Chris Sale is only 24 and already a two-time All-Star. He’s the White Sox’ face of the franchise in waiting.
Talented, tough, competitive and feisty at times to a fault, Sale’s can be an angry face.
Too angry, in fact.
“Sometimes he over-the-top competes and gets [ticked off] because he wants to do more,’’ Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. “And that’s what we’re trying to curb because more isn’t better in his case. He has plenty.’’
We’ve all seen Sale, who likely will pitch in his second All-Star Game on Tuesday at Citi Field, blow a fuse, most recently after giving up a home run to Miguel Cabrera in Detroit. He overthrew his next pitch and hit Prince Fielder, in the same manner he hit the Indians’ Michael Brantley after giving up a grand slam to Mark Reynolds.
It sure didn’t look good.
“I found Prince after that game and said, ‘Hey, man, that’s my bad. I didn’t mean to,’ and I truly didn’t,’’ Sale said Monday at the All-Star Game media session. “That’s not who I am as a person and not who I am as a pitcher.
“That’s a little bit of anger, adrenaline and kind of being an idiot, too. That’s just bad baseball pitching out of anger and frustration. The game plan goes out the window, and it’s like, ‘Here it comes, it’s coming in hard.’ And sometimes you act foolish. I’ve been burned twice by it.’’
Sox catcher Tyler Flowers has walked to the mound to remind Sale to cool off and get back to the pitching plan. Reel it in, lefty.
“He’s a young kid, and he has fire,’’ said Sox All-Star reliever Jesse Crain, glancing over at Sale sitting at the next interview table. “To be a good pitcher, you need fire, a controlled fire.
“Last year when they were questioning about him starting [and going back to the bullpen], I saw him fire an iPhone off the dugout wall. That’s the first time I saw that temper, and he has a good one.’’
It’s part of a maturing process that Cooper said will bring Sale to another level.
“He’s good in every phase,’’ Cooper said. “He has great stuff; he can change speeds; he can throw any pitch at any time; he can throw offspeed in fastball counts. And he wants to be good. I can’t think of a negative. And, that being said, he’s in his second year as a starter.’’
“It’s crazy to think he’s only 24,’’ Crain said. “He has an unbelievable career ahead of him.’’
What lies ahead for Crain is more of a mystery. While Sale figures to be a mainstay in the Sox’ future, Crain, who’s on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, likely will be traded when he’s healthy enough to pitch. His contract is up after the season, and the Sox are going nowhere this year.
“It’s crossed my mind,’’ Crain said of trade rumors. “But I’m not really thinking about all the trade stuff now. I’m happy to represent the White Sox here.’’
Crain is here to enjoy the moment. It’s his first All-Star experience, and he knows it might be his last no matter how well he pitches in the future.
“If you’re going to make an All-Star Game, New York is the place to do it,’’ he said. “It doesn’t get any bigger than this. This week, unfortunately, will go by really fast.’’
Sale is enjoying the second experience as much as the first.
“It’s fun to see your hard work pay off,’’ he said. “I take a lot of pride in how I pitch and how I go about my business. For other people to notice that and take that into consideration makes me feel appreciated and honored.’’