Strong second half is Sox ace Chris Sale’s No. 1 goal
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com July 21, 2013 7:21PM
American Leagues Chris Sale, of the Chicago White Sox, pitches during the second inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Updated: July 21, 2013 8:24PM
The Detroit Tigers will make their first appearance of the season Monday at U.S. Cellular Field, with All-Star pitchers Max Scherzer and Chris Sale opening the four-game series.
Sale (6-8) will take the mound for the White Sox in his first start since earning the victory for the American League in the All-Star Game last week. But he has higher ambitions for the rest of the season.
‘‘Coop [pitching coach Don Cooper] and I talked about it [Saturday] in my sideline session,’’ Sale said. ‘‘This year, let’s spring across the finish line instead of stumbling across or falling across.’’
Sale went 17-8 last season but was only 8-6 after the All-Star break and lost two of his last three starts.
Sale will be in the opposite dugout from Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who directed the AL All-Stars.
‘‘I thoroughly enjoyed it,’’ Sale said of playing for Leyland. ‘‘Him and my grandfather had a mutual friend in Lakeland [Fla., the Tigers’ spring-training home and Sale’s home]. I’ve said before he’s a Hall of Fame manager, and giving me the time of day means the world.’’
The Sox won two of three games from the AL Central-leading Tigers before the break. Sale won one of those games.
‘‘That’s your goal as a starting pitcher: Every time you step on the mound, you want to win games,’’ Sale said. ‘‘No matter how many you win in a row or lose in a row, you still want to win the next one.’’
Second baseman Gordon Beckham missed the game Sunday and might miss several more with a strain in his left hand. Beckham said he felt pain after taking an awkward swing during batting practice Friday.
‘‘It’s not related to the [hamate bone] surgery, though it’s the same hand,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s nothing they can do for it, but they said it will take a couple of days at the least.’’
The road back
Right-hander Gavin Floyd is hopeful he can begin light throwing in the next month to six weeks as he rehabs from his season-ending elbow surgery in May.
He remains hopeful, too, that he can return to pitching next season. He will be eligible for free agency after the season.
‘‘There’s kind of a wide spectrum of things that could happen next year, and you’ve just got to be open and just have to focus on getting back,’’ Floyd said.
‘‘I’ve heard guys come back in 10 months. I’ve heard guys come back in 12 and 14 [months]. I’m hopeful I’ll come back and be ready early next year, but you never know.’’
Captain Paul Konerko was back with the Sox and is expected to play Monday. He went 3-for-4 in his last rehab game Saturday at
Class AA Birmingham.
◆ Infielder Brent Morel was sent back to Class AAA Charlotte after the game Sunday to make room for Konerko on the active roster.