That sentiment was expressed by White Sox manager Robin Ventura and the 23-year-old southpaw prior to Saturday afternoon's contest against the Blue Jays. Sale certainly has the credentials to be considered the AL starter, with a 10-2 record, 2.19 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and a .198 average against.
But the White Sox have made it clear to AL All-Star manager Ron Washington and his staff that they don't want Sale working more than one inning in the Midsummer Classic, as they try to give Sale an extended break after his final first-half start Tuesday in order to manage his innings total. A starting pitcher often times is asked to work two innings, as Roy Halladay did for the National League in the 2011 All-Star Game, for example.
"Yeah, he won't be starting that game -- unless he goes one, which is unlikely," said Ventura of Sale during his news conference Saturday morning. "It's an inning. It's going to be an inning. It won't be more. He knows it, everybody knows it."
Jered Weaver earned the AL start in 2011 and only worked the opening inning. So, that possibility still exists for Sale.
Then again, Sale and Ventura spoke Saturday with the certainty that he wasn't getting the starting nod. The first-year starter has been a revelation for the White Sox, but he certainly was not the lone AL pitcher qualified for this honor. Justin Verlander, Matt Harrison, David Price and possibly Weaver again figure to be in the mix.
When asked for his reaction to not being able to start, Sale responded with "darn," and then flashed a broad smile. The first-year All-Star simply is excited to be going, wherever he ends up pitching in the game.
"I mean, it would be something that would be great. But at the same time, I'm not going to sit here and complain about still being a part of the All-Star Game but not starting it," said Sale, who will be joined by White Sox teammates Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn on the AL squad. "It's still an honor to be there.
"Starting is something that crossed my mind and I thought about a little bit. But at the end of the day, it's just about being a part of the whole process, and just having the opportunity to pitch in an All-Star Game is enough for me to be honest with you.
"Like I said before, it doesn't matter if it's at the beginning, the end or somewhere in between. I'm just excited to be there."