It looks like the training wheels are officially off Chris Sale.
After missing five weeks with a flexor muscle strain, Sale returned from the disabled list and threw 6 scoreless innings against the Yankees, allowing 1 hit and striking out 10 while being limited to 86 pitches.
In his last start, against the Indians Tuesday, Sale pitched 3 scoreless innings and threw 40 pitches before a 1-hour, 58-minute rain delay. Not surprisingly, the White Sox' ace didn't come back out when play resumed and White Sox manager Robin Ventura initially exercised precaution and said Sale would pitch again Monday night -- against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Before Friday night's game against the Padres at U.S. Cellular Field, the Sox announced Sale is now starting Sunday afternoon against San Diego.
"Just how he was feeling, how little he threw the last time and in talking to him, going over it the last couple days, we just felt like it was better to get him in there as quick as you could and he would be fine," Ventura said. "He says he feels great."
Sale usually pushes to get on the mound as much as possible, but he said the White Sox made the call on Sunday's start.
"This is something they told me," said Sale, who is 4-0 with a 1.73 ERA in 6 starts this season. "I was expecting to throw on Monday with an extra day. But it's not like they are moving me up a day or anything like that. So, it kind of makes sense with throwing three innings and being fresh and going back out there on Sunday."
Paul Konerko missed his second straight game Friday with lower back discomfort, but he should be ready to go Saturday.
"The game on Tuesday night, I guess it was, that long one with the delays and all that, I think Wednesday morning I got up and it was pretty locked up," Konerko said. "I've had it worse in the past. The way it felt yesterday and then coming into today, walking in today I was planning on telling (Robin Ventura) I was ready to go. You don't want to throw somebody in there that's not quite sure, and I wasn't sure."
Jose Abreu took live batting practice and more groundballs Friday, and it appears the White Sox' first baseman will come off the 15-day disabled list on schedule Monday and play against the Dodgers.
"I'm hopeful," manager Robin Ventura said. "We're going to get him some workouts here (Saturday) and Sunday and see how he does. It's some simulated stuff that he can do (so) we wouldn't have to send him out on a rehab assignment. That's a part of the evaluation to make sure he's going to be ready to go, hopefully, Monday."