CLEVELAND -- It took a slew of Spring Training starts for Chris Sale to build up the arm strength to make the transition from reliever to starter. His return to the bullpen should be a simpler switch.
Sale was available to pitch out of Chicago's 'pen on Monday against the Indians, six days after his fifth and, presumably, final start of the year. Sale posted a 3-1 record and 2.81 ERA in those five outings, but manager Robin Ventura elected to move Sale to the bullpen in what he deemed an organizational decision.
Sale doesn't appear too bothered by the role reversal.
"I like to use the phrase 'pitching is pitching,'" Sale said. "You still have to go out there and get outs, whether that's at the beginning, middle or end of the game."
Sale totaled 79 appearances in 2010 and '11, all out of the bullpen. He said he liked his time in the rotation, but doesn't have a preference on which role he assumes.
"I enjoyed starting," Sale said. "I thought the transition was going well. I guess we'll see."
Knowing he'll only be asked to pitch an inning or so each time he takes the mound, Sale can unleash his mid-to-high-90s fastball right away rather than pace himself. The 23-year-old admitted, however, that it might take some time to readjust to that style of pitching.
"I don't like to say anything in this game is easy to do," Sale said. "There are a lot of guys who might make it look easy, but at the end of the day, it's not. I'm just taking it day by day, and we'll see where we're at. But maybe the velocity will go up when I'm not throwing as many pitches. Velocity is nice, but it's not going to make or break you."