CHICAGO -- Before Chris Sale made the improbable jump from first-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft to Major League reliever with the White Sox, the slender southpaw had already far surpassed his single-season high for innings pitched.
Sale immediately was moved to the bullpen, although his future is in the starting rotation, for two reasons. The White Sox felt he could reach the Majors quickly as a reliever, much like Mark Buehrle did in 2000, and it would reduce his innings workload.
A funny thing happened, though, on the way to Sale being eased into the big league experience.
Matt Thornton suffered elbow soreness, sending him to the disabled list, and Sale has now become the primary left-hander for the White Sox. The confident Sale, who has limited left-handed hitters to a 2-for-11 showing, is ready for the challenge.
"That's what I came here to do, pitch in big innings and get big outs," Sale said. "I'm just trying to help the team win."
White Sox general manager Ken Williams and Sale remain confident the increased innings won't be an issue. Between college, the Minors and the White Sox, Sale has thrown 120 in total. His previous high-water mark was 89 1/3 innings.
"Knock on wood, I feel fine," Sale said. "It's about coming to the ballpark every day and just being ready to throw. Getting my body, arm and mind ready and everything like that. So far, so good."
"One thing that I'm absolutely sure of is that [White Sox manager] Ozzie [Guillen] and [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] are on that on a day-to-day basis," Williams said. "I never really have any concern that they're not doing everything in their power to keep people healthy, and that's part of the way of grinding through a 162-game season."
Trying times don't deter Ozzie's passion
CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen came up with a new playoff rallying cry for his White Sox as they try to catch the first-place Twins in the American League Central during the season's final five weeks.
Win one for the U.S. Cellular Field vendors.
"You know when I feel bad?" Guillen quipped. "When I walk from the car to the ballpark and you see those guys, the vendors and stuff, they are pulling for us because the only way they make money is when we win.
"I have pride, and I want this ballclub to do good because there are a lot of people who make money out of this thing, winning or losing. I'm going to make money if I win or lose. I might not have a contract. But those guys, we need to win for them, too. That's the way they make money."
Guillen does have a contract, through the 2011 season, with a team option for '12. Even with that job security in place, the bulk of Thursday's interview session dealt with Guillen's state of mind and his continued love and devotion for serving as White Sox manager.
A trying few days for Guillen, amidst a taxing season overall, didn't seem to alter his desire to stay with the White Sox. He even talked about looking for a house in the Chicago area on Thursday morning, despite already owning places of residence in Venezuela and in Miami.
His ultimate goal is to win another World Series title as a manager, a goal Guillen hopes is fulfilled this season. But if a 2010 title doesn't come to fruition, Guillen still wants to do that job in Chicago.
"Believe me. The day I don't want to come here, I never will," Guillen said. "I'll send you guys a note. 'Thank you for the support. I'll see you guys later.'
"Every year is going to be the same, good or bad. We are in Chicago and I love it. If anyone out there doesn't believe it, yes. I like competition and I like to compete. I like people to ask me questions and to second-guess me.
"I like people to hate me. I like that. Why not? I'm not a perfect guy. Some people love me, some people hate me. I like that. I like to compete and make those players compete."
Williams denies reported Hoffman claim
CHICAGO -- With the White Sox bullpen decimated by injuries to Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz, a waiver claim on a reliever would make sense for the White Sox.
But after first not confirming nor denying a report out of Milwaukee stating how the White Sox received the claim on Trevor Hoffman, but couldn't work out a deal, Williams said it never happened.
"No, it didn't," he said. "Don't take that any further than you need to."
When Williams was asked earlier in the week about his team making any waiver claims -- not just on Manny Ramirez -- he laughed and said that question was not one he anticipated coming his way. Williams then issued his first of numerous "no comments." He expounded Thursday on the thought process behind refusing to confirm a claim.
"If I answer that question, I'm going to give you an answer that I'm going to give you, and the next time you ask a question, and I don't give the answer in the same form, then it will tell you what I'm doing," Williams said. "It establishes a pattern, and you can figure me out."
As for frustration over the waiver process as a whole, Williams said his answer on the topic from Wednesday could be applied to Thursday's question. And the same holds true for Friday. It's basically a variation of the old sports adage: It is what it is.
"It's just the process," Williams said. "There's nothing to be excited about. Nothing to be frustrated about. It's just the process."
Young, Champion receive coaching honors
CHICAGO -- Ernie Young was named manager of the 2010 Pan American Qualifying team by USA Baseball on Thursday. Kirk Champion was selected as the pitching coach to lead the group into a 12-team tournament, running from Oct. 1-10 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Young manages Class A Kannapolis in the White Sox system, and Champion serves as the organization's Minor League pitching coordinator. They were both part of the coaching staff for the 2009 gold medal-winning World Cup Team.
Third to first
The White Sox improved to 54-55 against the American League with Thursday's 8-0 victory over the Orioles and improved to 10-15 against the American League East. ... Edwin Jackson's ERA in four White Sox starts checks in at 0.96. He has 34 strikeouts and seven walks over those outings. Jackson is 5-0 in his past seven starts against the AL and 5-1 lifetime against the Orioles. ... White Sox starters are 36-16 with a 3.14 ERA and 52 quality starts in the past 71 games. ... Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin both have seven-game hitting streaks.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.