White Sox pitcher Chris Sale has fractured right foot
Sox pitcher Chris Sale and GM Rick Hahn on Sale’s foot injury.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The sight of Chris Sale hobbling around Camelback Ranch with a heavily bandaged foot is something that could induce dread in any White Sox supporter who harbored hopes the club might be ready to contend.
But the avulsion fracture on the outside of Sale’s right foot, suffered during an accident at his Arizona home Friday, instead falls somewhere in between “biggest fear realized” and “no big deal.”
Sale, the Sox left-handed ace who finished third in American League Cy Young voting in 2014, is expected to miss three weeks of spring training after arriving in camp Saturday morning with the injury. He had X-rays at a Glendale hospital and will undergo more tests when the swelling in his foot subsides.
Sale, who likened the injury’s severity to that of a sprained ankle, said he doesn’t foresee the problem trickling into the regular season too much. His status as the opening day starter for the third straight season April 6 at Kansas City is in question but will be better determined later in March, general manager Rick Hahn said.
“This is a minor setback,” Sale said. “I’m not losing any faith. I’m not going to get down on myself. I’m just rehabbing a foot. I’ll be back before no time.”
Hahn said Sale was injured while unloading his truck, when he jumped off it and landed awkwardly. Sale didn’t provide more details, only joking twice that he did it while fighting off an intruder in his home.
“It was really just a freak incident,” Sale said. “I’ve just done it a million times, and this time it didn’t work out so well.
“Initially I was a little worried, but after the X-rays and all that stuff, it worked out. The best case scenario would have been October 1 (of last season). But I guess it’s as good as it can possibly be. It’s early.”
Health often has been a concern surrounding Sale after he spent a stint on the disabled list last season with a strained flexor muscle in his left arm and missed starts with injuries and fatigue in his previous two seasons. Hahn said the Sox again will err on the side of caution as Sale makes his recovery to make sure he doesn’t do additional damage.
“Especially with his delivery — he’s all over the place,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He’ll be throwing when he’s capable and we feel comfortable he can do that. He’s in good hands.”
The news put a damper on a cheery start to the spring after several high-profile acquisitions this offseason. But Hahn at least tried to look at the upside to the injury happening during just the second week of spring training. He noted that because the Sox have an off day during the first week of the regular season, the team might not need to use its fifth starter until April 12, giving Sale an extra week for recovery.
“In my mind right now, the arrow is back pointing up because I was dealing with some more troublesome scenarios a few hours ago before we had all the information,” Hahn said. “It’s definitely a step back in terms of the momentum we had building here, but we’re back on track in terms of having a positive outlook and we’ll adapt over the coming weeks.”
Sale, who was 12-4 with a 2.17 ERA and 208 strikeouts over 174 innings pitched last season, was slated to make his first Cactus League start Friday. Hahn said the Sox still need to discuss how to allocate Sale’s spring training innings, mentioning Carlos Rodon, Brad Penny, Scott Carroll, Frank Montas and Chris Beck as possibilities to receive some of that work.
He said that Sale’s injury will not affect how the Sox view Rodon, the No. 3 overall pick in last summer’s draft, though the left-hander now could see more innings in A games this spring. The Sox are trying to determine where Rodon should start the season — in the big league rotation or bullpen or at Triple-A Charlotte.
“With any guy, whether it’s injury or underperformance, we never want to go to a player before he is personally ready,” Hahn said. “It doesn’t change (Rodon’s) readiness or timetable. That’s going to be based upon what Carlos shows us.”
Rodon said he wouldn’t let the news affect how he approaches the spring.
“It doesn’t change anything,” Rodon said. “(I take) just the same path I’ve been on — just take it day by day and work just as hard. … Wherever I’m at, I want to work hard, whether it’s Charlotte or it’s Chicago, it’s the same thing. It’s no different mindset at all.”
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.