Sale will miss Wednesday's start as a precautionary measure due to mild tendinitis in his left posterior shoulder, with Hector Santiago taking his place on the mound. The move was made to protect one of the White Sox most crucial investments, although that idea didn't make it any easier for Sale to accept.
"I pitch every fifth day, so I want to be out there," said Sale after the White Sox 3-1 victory over the Red Sox. "I told them that 'I'm pitching tomorrow.' They told me, 'You're going to miss this one.' I said, 'I'm going to pitch tomorrow.'
"We collected as a group and sat in a meeting and the doctor explained to me that this is not going to happen. I just don't like doing it. I want to be out there. I don't want to put my job in other people's hands. That's not what I'm here to do. I'm here to do my job and make every start. What I needed to do, it just wasn't in the cards."
This particular problem flared up after Sale's start Friday night against the Angels, which was one start after he had a perfect game broken up by Mike Trout with one out in the seventh and finished with a one-hitter. Sale felt good during the 7 2/3 scoreless innings in Anaheim, taking his consecutive streak to 23 innings overall, but he couldn't bounce back the way he wanted.
"Just not being able to do the things I wanted to do between days, like throw a side session, throw long toss, things of that sort," Sale said. "I had to change my in-week regimen around it.
"At the end of the day, just something that was said would be better to do for now. Rather miss this one than one down the road, or possibly do something we don't want to do."
Santiago will pitch on three days' rest in Sale's place, after throwing 80 pitches over 3 1/3 innings against the Angels on Saturday. The southpaw also threw a bullpen session Tuesday, covering 35 or 40 pitches.
With John Danks coming back to start most likely on Friday, Santiago was told to be ready for anything. That suggestion changed Tuesday to be ready to start in place of Sale.
"For the most part, I think I'll be fine. I feel fine right now. I'll wake up tomorrow and see how it feels," said Santiago of the toll taken by short rest and Tuesday's bullpen session. "I got after it a little bit, but nothing too outrageous that I shouldn't be able to go tomorrow."
It was May 4 last season when Sale moved from the rotation to closer because of tenderness in his left elbow. He pleaded his case ultimately to former general manager Ken Williams, returned to the rotation on May 12 and eventually was selected to the American League All-Star team.
There doesn't seem much chance at this point that Sale's absence will be longer than one start. When asked if he'll be ready for his next start Tuesday at home against the Cubs, Sale confidently stated, "Yes, absolutely. I'll be there."
"He's just been mentioning he's a little sore. We're protecting him," manager Robin Ventura said. "You're looking at a long season, just making sure before it was something else, elbow-wise. You're just extra careful with somebody with his talent and his age. It's probably something he can pitch with, but it's us being very cautious with him."