Sale's big league debut drawing near

Sale's big league debut drawing near

DETROIT -- If there was an ultra fast track to the Majors, then Chris Sale would be motoring in the express lane of that particular highway.

The White Sox top pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and 13th selection overall came to contractual terms with the team without much haggling, carrying with him the understanding that he could reach the Majors before the end of the current campaign. That big league opportunity for Sale is all but certain to begin on Wednesday.

Prior to Tuesday's doubleheader at Comerica Park, left-handed reliever Erick Threets was placed on the 15-day disabled list with turf toe in his left big toe. Carlos Torres took Threets' roster spot, starting the nightcap of the twin bill, but Torres returned to the Minors after working six innings and suffering a 7-1 setback.

Matt Thornton stands as the only left-hander presently in the bullpen, so adding the left-handed Sale would make sense. Since joining Triple-A Charlotte, following four games with Class A Advanced Winston Salem, the 21-year-old has fanned 15 over 6 1/3 innings covering seven relief appearances. During a recent effort against Louisville, Sale struck out the two batters faced on just six pitches.

"He looks like a good young lefty," said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper of Sale on Tuesday morning, before pausing to take a phone call from Richard Dotson, Sale's pitching coach at Charlotte. "You never know. We might see him tomorrow."

According to White Sox Minor League pitching coordinator Kirk Champion, Sale does not operate in awe of his quick ascent to prime time. His fastball has been clocked anywhere from 91 to 96 mph, and he also throws a slider and changeup.

The organization has the slender Sale targeted for the starting rotation eventually, but much like the way Mark Buehrle began his career in 2000, Sale's Major League debut will come out of the bullpen and looks as if it will come on this eight-game road trip to Detroit and Baltimore.

"Well, he's prepared," said Champion of Sale. "Whatever it took him to get to that point, whoever has had him along the way, prepared him well.

"We have not done anything as an organization from that standpoint. Our scouts around him had the ability to recognize this quality. But he carries himself very well -- that's the best way to describe it."