'Loose' Sale ready for opening assignment

'Loose' Sale ready for opening assignment

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If Thursday's 8-3 White Sox victory over the Brewers were played as a regular-season contest, then Chris Sale would have been in line for a complete game.

Sale needed only 59 pitches to get through five innings and threw 75 over his seven frames. He actually threw another 25 in the bullpen because he needed to get his pitch count up and relievers Addison Reed and Matt Thornton were scheduled to work. With three strikeouts and three double-play grounders, Sale turned in the sort of effort he hopes to frequently feature when the games count in the standings.

"Regular season, that was close to a complete game right there. Pitch count was down, that's what you shoot for," said Sale, who allowed three runs on four hits. "I'm not going to be as sore the next day and will bounce back a little quicker.

"So far, so good, knock on wood. I feel loose, and I feel like my arm is bouncing back the way I want it to. With the programs we have here, it helps us out. I follow that, lean on these guys and go out there every fifth day."

One more Cactus League start is on tap for Sale, coming Tuesday either against the Rangers in Surprise or in a Minor League contest. He'll probably reduce the pitch count to go in fresh to his first Opening Day start. It's a start for which Sale has been prepared for a while.

"I've been ready for the regular season since day one and a half," said Sale with a laugh. "It's fun getting work in, getting prepared, but there is no denying that we're all excited for the season to start."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.