Cooper on Sale: He's my Cy Young, that's for sure

American League Cy Young Award voting was announced Wednesday, and the winner pitched in the AL Central last season.

It wasn't White Sox ace Chris Sale. The 25-year lefty came in third behind Cleveland's Corey Kluber and Seattle's Felix Hernandez.

Sale might have finished first, but he missed five weeks early in the season with a flexor muscle strain and was limited to 26 starts and 174 innings.

For the season, Sale was 12-4 and his 2.17 ERA was the second lowest in the league. He was also second with a 0.97 WHIP and sixth with 208 strikeouts.

"He's got tremendous stuff," Sox pitching coach Don Cooper. "He's a tremendous pitcher. He's my Cy Young, that's for sure."

Kluber picked up 17 first-place votes and had 169 points to win Cy Young honors after going 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA. Hernandez got the other 13 first-place votes and finished with 159 points after going 15-6 with a 2.14 ERA.

Sale had 78 points.

Cooper said keeping Sale healthy for a full season remains a priority. In 2012 he was sidelined with elbow soreness, and Sale was slowed by shoulder soreness in 2013.

While he is a premier strikeout pitcher, Sale would likely benefit from pitching to more contact.

"Right now, we are trying to find a hybrid," Cooper said."Let's face it, when he strikes people out his pitch total comes up, and he strikes guys out. We need a way to keep that pitch total workable so he can make sure he's going his seven and eight innings, and sometimes nine and finishing. Racking up a lot of strikeouts, that rolls up the pitch total."

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