After one of their most satisfying wins of the season, a 3-1 decision over the Tigers at Comerica Park Monday night, the White Sox were greeted with some potentially somber news.
Ace starting pitcher Chris Sale is on the 15-day disabled list with a flexor mass strain in his left arm.
Earlier Monday, the Sox announced Sale was likely to miss Tuesday's scheduled start against Justin Verlander and Detroit with "general soreness." In his last start, against the Red Sox at U.S. Cellular Field Thursday, Sale threw a career-high 127 pitches.
An MRI later revealed the flexor mass strain. General manager Rick Hahn told reporters in Detroit that Sale's elbow ligament is "excellent" and he could have been pushed back to Sunday against Tampa Bay. The White Sox didn't want to take any chances with their prized pitcher.
Were 127 pitches in his fourth start of the season a dozen or so too many for Sale?
"First, I'm not smart enough to know if that was the cause of it," Hahn said. "Second, there was no indication before that start or during that start that he was in the least bit of jeopardy of doing any damage to himself. In fact, as you can tell by this decision today, we're going to do everything in our power to protect him for the long term. This is about getting in front of any issues and make sure he's in the best position to stay healthy for an extended career."
The White Sox have protected Sale in past seasons, and they briefly made a drastic move -- shifting Sale from starter to closer -- two years ago. Sale wound up talking his way back into the rotation and became a star.
The latest scare only reinforces the opinion of many outsiders who insist Sale's violent mechanics and thin build are a terrible combination from a health standpoint.
Rest has worked wonders for Sale in the past, and that's the same path he'll follow this time.
Although no official announcement was made Monday night, left-hander Charlie Leesman is reportedly coming up from Class AAA Charlotte to start against Verlander. Another new addition from Charlotte, right-hander Andre Rienzo, is scheduled to start against the Tigers Wednesday night in place of Felipe Paulino, who is on the DL with an inflamed rotator cuff.
As for Monday night's win, John Danks (2-0) worked out of a big jam in the second inning after Detroit loaded the bases with no outs.
Danks allowed just 1 run in the second, and the Sox roared back against Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez (0-2) with 3 runs in the seventh after scratching out just 1 hit through the first 6 innings.
Jose Abreu and Dayan Viciedo had RBI doubles in the seventh and Alexei Ramirez added a run-scoring single.