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Chris Sale could make minor-league rehab start next week

Updated: May 9, 2014 12:17AM

Chris Sale has progressed enough for the White Sox to be talking about a minor-league rehab start for their All-Star left-hander. If Sale comes away from a sideline session Saturday feeling well enough to take the next step, he would probably make a minor-league start late next week, although it could be a short one. He’d need one more rehab start, which could set up a possible return by the last week of May.

“It’s closer,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “Over this weekend, we’ll have a better idea. He’ll throw again probably Saturday. From there, you figure out how he’s feeling and then you make a plan.’’

Sale (3-0, 2.30 ERA) is on the 15-day disabled list with a flexor muscle strain near his left elbow. He hasn’t pitched since he threw a career-high 127 pitches April 17 against the Boston Red Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

Thursday marked the 21st day since Sale last pitched, and he likely will miss at least five weeks before he gets back on the mound for the Sox.

Sale’s first rehab start will have a low pitch count. The second would be higher. The next big step for Sale is having enough endurance to start a major-league game and throw 100 pitches, so it’s almost like spring training all over again.

“You do have to build him back up to where he feels like he can go back out,’’ Ventura said. “It would be unfair to send him out there, knowing he’s only going to go four or five innings. You just don’t do that with a guy like him.

“Talking to him, he said everything feels good. You continue to go from there.’’

This and that

Center fielder Adam Eaton, who will miss playing against his former team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, this weekend, will need a few rehab games before he comes off the disabled list, Ventura said.

“He’s progressing,’’ Ventura said. “He’s doing better. He’s not doing a whole lot, but it is coming along.”

Moises Sierra made his third consecutive start in right field.

“He’s got some speed; he’s got some power,’’ Ventura said. “He’s got a great arm. I didn’t realize how good his arm was.’’

◆ Class AAA Charlotte relievers worth watching: Right-hander Javy Guerra has a 1.72 ERA in 11 games, and righty Frank Francisco has allowed one unearned run with 12 strikeouts in six games.


Twitter: @CST_soxvan

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