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Sale changes things up with pitch selection

Sale changes things up with pitch selection play video for Sale changes things up with pitch selection

ARLINGTON -- The career-high 127 pitches and the heightened competitiveness of going against Jon Lester and the Red Sox on Thursday night left Chris Sale feeling a little more sore than usual on Friday, but nothing truly out of the ordinary.

"I jumped in the hot tub, did my shoulder program, worked out, ran, threw real light today," Sale said. "Just when stuff like that happens, you have a little bit more work to do in the four days in between your next one."

Sale mentioned that pitching coach Don Cooper already had canceled his bullpen before his trip to the mound on Tuesday in Detroit, and Sale planned to go with long toss. His effectiveness has been at the same high level as his previous two seasons as a starter, but Sale's repertoire has changed a bit.

Left-handed hitters are 0-for-20 against Sale this season and hitting .180 against him over the last three years. With more right-handed hitters understandably in the opposing lineup, Sale has thrown his changeup almost twice as much as last season, according to the statistical website Fangraphs.

"Yeah, I feel like I have a lot better feel for it. It has more depth than it has in the past," said Sale of his change. "That's something I've really been working on throughout the offseason and into Spring Training. I'm going to face a lot of righties and that's something that helps me out in terms of being able to throw it 3-2 and even behind in the count.

"I'm almost more confident with that than my fastball sometimes. With the combination of fastballs in and changeups down and away, it's a little bit better for righties."

There won't be a set pitch count limit for Sale against the Tigers, although he has one planned out in his mind.

"Hopefully it's 90 through nine. That would be nice," said a smiling Sale. "But all joking aside, it's go out there and just see how it is. They are pretty good judging on me in terms of when I start coming out of my mechanics. So for me, I'm just getting ready for my next one."

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.

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