Chicago White Sox

Chris Sale: Should Chicago White Sox Have Pitcher on DL Instead of in Bullpen?

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 01: Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Cleveland Indians on May 1, 2012 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images
Tom FirmeAnalyst IIMay 8, 2012

Chris Sale experienced soreness last week. The Chicago White Sox decided to take quick action by sending Sale to the bullpen to serve as closer. That might not have been the quick decision the White Sox should have taken to protect Sale’s arm.

Sale hadn’t been prone to injury before experiencing soreness last week. He didn’t have a history of inflammation or soreness. This might have led the White Sox to keeping him active

However, soreness can often be more than just soreness for a pitcher. Soreness in a pitcher’s arm can sometimes turn into a serious arm injury. Also, it can become something that bothers a player for an extended period of time.

Still, the White Sox felt they could keep him active while changing his role. They haven’t taken an MRI of the elbow, according to MLB.com.

Sale didn’t think the soreness was a big concern.

“It doesn’t hurt when I throw,” he said. “It’s tender to touch and takes a little bit to get loosened up.”

Sale took on a decent pitching load in his first five starts. He pitched between six and seven innings three times, pitched eight innings once and pitched 5.2 innings once. In his second start, he pitched only five innings. He pitched between 100 and 110 pitches in his first four starts before throwing just 88 pitches in his fifth start.

If the innings or the 100-plus pitch counts weren’t a problem for Sale, then he shouldn’t have been moved to the bullpen in such a knee-jerk fashion. The White Sox should have taken a more normal precaution by putting him on the disabled list.

They could have watched him for 15 days to see how his arm looks and how long it takes for him to warm up his arm.

They wouldn’t have anything to lose since they’re in a rebuilding phase. They wouldn’t lose ground in a divisional race they absolutely must win by holding him out for a short while.

Robin Ventura said during the weekend that sending Sale to the disabled list is still an option.

Saying that much is smart for Ventura. The White Sox don’t want to commit to keeping him active just because they want him pitching often.

Whether the White Sox would keep Sale in the bullpen is questionable. They might possibly put him back in the starting rotation at some point. That would be nice since the White Sox don’t have many talented starting prospects.

Above all, they should take the best care of Sale’s arm so that he lasts.

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