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‘Lighting up radar gun’  is least of Sale’s concerns

Updated: June 10, 2011 12:31AM

SEATTLE — After striking out 32 in 231/3
innings down the stretch last season, White Sox reliever Chris Sale has fanned 13 in his first 111/3, a slight drop. Opposing
batters are ­hitting .306 against the rookie left-hander, though, compared to .185 last season.

Sale was throwing in the upper 90s last season but he’s consistently been closer to the 94-mph range this year. He says he’s not concerned and speculates it might improve when the weather warms up during the summer months.

“Yeah, velocity is ­probably the last thing I’m worried about,’’ the rail-thin 6-6, 180-pounder said Sunday. “Getting outs is at the top of my to-do list. It will get there. I’m not too worried about where I’m at with velocity. I feel good, my body feels good, my arm feels good.’’

Sale and pitching coach Don Cooper looked at 2010 video and identified some minor differences. Sale hopes the adjustments help his command, which has been a bigger issue than velocity.

“My main focus is not about lighting up the radar gun,’’ he said. “Everybody in this league can hit 98. That’s no secret. It’s a ­matter of where the pitch is, not how hard it is.

“I’m just trying to get back into a rhythm and figure out what’s the reason behind what’s going on.’’

Sale hasn’t pitched since Monday. He has a 2-0 record with a 7.15 ERA.

Morel like it

Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he came close to batting third baseman
Brent Morel second on Sunday. Guillen sees Morel, who had two singles ­Sunday and a three-hit game the night before, as an ideal No. 2 hitter.

Alexei Ramirez moved from eighth to second when Gordon Beckham went into a slump. Guillen prefers Ramirez lower in the order, where he says he’d be in more RBI situations.

“I don’t think Alexei is the typical second hitter,’’ Guillen said. “The only one we have here, he handles the bat well, is Morel. ­Morel can swing the bat, put the ball in play. But right now I wait till
[Morel’s average] gets
better. If he continues to swing the bat, we’ll see.’’

Morel started the Sox’ three-run 10th inning with a single Sunday.

Pretty in pink

First-base coach Harold Baines and Paul Konerko wore pink shoes for breast-cancer awareness on
Mother’s Day. Most Sox used pink bats and wore pink accessories.
Guillen lauded the cause but passed on the shoes.

‘‘The way I’m managing right now, no,’’ he said. “If I was winning and in first place I wouldn’t mind. I’d be embarrassed to go out there in pink shoes in our place. When you’re in first place, you can get away with a lot of stuff. When you’re in last place, you
better hide and make sure you don’t do too much crazy where people can see you.’’

Most of the Sox hitters discarded the pink bats after a couple of at-bats.

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