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Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Sale learns from facing Pujols

By Bruce Levine



If you’re a young pitcher, like Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale, you might as well shake the butterflies out by facing baseball’s best hitter.

Chris Sale
Chris Sale was tested by facing baseball's best hitter on Wednesday.

Call the experience a learning curve for Sale who hit Albert Pujols in his first at bat then gave up a 480-foot homer the second time around.

”A hitter like him, he’s arguably the best hitter in the game, so when you see [the catcher call for a] fastball in, you got to get it in,” Sale said. “He proved a couple innings later that if you are going in, you better get it in.”

Sale, attempting to make the transition from the bullpen to the rotation, has allowed eight earned runs in just 7 1/3 innings over his first two spring starts.

When told of his stat line, he responded, “what ? I’ve given up eight runs in eight innings that is un- acceptable on every level. I’m disappointed in what happened, but there were a lot of positives”

What, exactly, were those positives?

The Sox’s left-hander went the deepest into a game of any starter this spring and was able to command his breaking pitches for the most part.

“You hopefully learn something,” manager Robin Ventura said. “[Pujols is one of the best hitters to ever play in the game so it is good to see what he has got against him.”

Ventura remains confident that Sale will get it together this spring.

”He still has great stuff and he is going to be in there,” Ventura said.

•Ventua said reliever Jesse Crain strained a right oblique muscle in the bullpen and was scratched from appearing in today’s game. Crain will be re-evaluated on Thursday.