NEW YORK -- When the topic of managing Chris Sale's innings comes up for Don Cooper, the White Sox pitching coach presents a valid reason as to why that matter isn't currently being enacted for the talented first-year starter.
"It's hard to limit his innings when he's good enough to stay in the game for seven, eight or nine innings," said a smiling Cooper.
Sale picked up his ninth win against two losses by working seven innings and throwing 93 pitches during the White Sox 12-5 victory over the Twins on Wednesday. The 23-year-old leads the American League with his miniscule 2.27 ERA and sits third in the AL with a .198 opponents batting average against.
At 95 1/3 innings pitched, Sale already has surpassed his big league single-season innings mark and is fast approaching his career high of 136 2/3 innings. He figures to be an All-Star selection when the picks are announced Sunday afternoon, but if Sale stays on schedule, he would work Tuesday against the Rangers and then close out the first half at home against the Blue Jays next Sunday.
That Sunday start would make Sale ineligible to pitch in the Midsummer Classic, but with Monday's off-day, the White Sox can finesse that schedule. Dylan Axelrod, Thursday's starter, could work on regular rest Tuesday, and Sale gets an extra day by being moved to Wednesday. If Sale starts the fifth game of the second half on July 17 in Boston, he would have a 12-day break aside from the All-Star Game in Kansas City.
"Right now, he's got Texas and then he's got Toronto," said Cooper of Sale. "Until something else comes our way that we have to factor into an individual situation, we are going to stay the course."
As for going from 71 innings in 2011 to somewhere in the 190s in 2012, Cooper believes it's a possible accomplishment with the way the team has handled Sale. That careful approach might mean cutting a start short by an inning with a big lead or continue getting that extra day of rest during the second half.
"I think he can," Cooper said. "He certainly works hard enough. We've given him, as well as everybody else, the days off, extra days, combined with the schedule, combined with strategically putting in an Axelrod. The All-Star break is right around the corner. We've managed him as well as everybody else very well."
Septimo's arrival gives Sox six rookie arms
NEW YORK -- Leyson Septimo became the latest rookie to join the White Sox pitching staff when the southpaw had his contract purchased from Triple-A Charlotte prior to Thursday's series opener in New York. Septimo took the spot of veteran hurler Will Ohman, who was designated for assignment.
Over 21 relief appearances for the Knights, Septimo, 26, posted a 2-1 record with a 1.48 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings. Opposing hitters produced a .135 average against Septimo, with a .095 against (4-for-42) for left-handed hitters.
"The biggest difference was when I was in Charlotte, I wasn't trying to throw hard all the time, and [I was] just [trying to] make pitches," said Septimo through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Jackson Miranda. "When I did need to throw hard, I did, but it wasn't like every pitch I was trying to throw hard."
"He had a pretty good Spring Training, and has a good lefty arm," said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper. "He worked on all the stuff we talked about and had some success."
According to manager Robin Ventura, Septimo will be used primarily as a left-handed specialist, a role with which Septimo is comfortable. That was the role designed for Ohman, who held left-handers to a .186 average. But his overall 6.41 ERA and six home runs allowed in 26 2/3 innings eventually spelled out his exit.
"[General manager] Kenny [Williams] came in, and it was something that he wanted to make that move," Ventura said. "It was hard finding spots for him and getting him in there, and more of the reports were we wanted to get a guy like Septimo in there who has had more success against lefties."
"Will is a good guy. We all wish him the best," Cooper said. "It just didn't work out."
Septimo joins Addison Reed, Nate Jones, Hector Santiago, Dylan Axelrod and Jose Quintana as the rookie contingent on this staff. Cooper relishes the challenge of helping these youngsters support a potentially playoff-bound team.
"It's kind of like, in some ways, a very instructional setting. It's fun," Cooper said. "It's an awful lot of fun seeing them go out there when they do well and succeed. It's not totally frustrating to me when they don't.
"Everything they do is looked at and watched and tried to be monitored and make sure we give them the best chance to stay healthy and strong. We want them to go out healthy, strong until we sprint across the finish line, not crawl across it."
Crain dealing with shoulder soreness
NEW YORK -- Right-handed reliever Jesse Crain exited in street clothes on a cart just as White Sox batting practice started Thursday because he felt tightness in his right shoulder. Crain went to see a doctor he knows in the area and was sent back with a clean bill of health.
Although Crain was unavailable for Thursday's exciting 4-3 victory over the Yankees, manager Robin Ventura said Crain should be ready on Friday night. Crain previously spent from April 21 to May 14 on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, and he missed time during Spring Training with a strained right oblique.
Ventura likes old-time feel of Yankee Stadium
NEW YORK -- Robin Ventura played third base for the Yankees during the 2002 season and part of 2003. And his Thursday on-field experience with the new Yankee Stadium made him feel like he was in the old venue.
"If you are on the field looking back, it looks the same," Ventura said. "It's odd how well they did it to make it match the old one. The ball carries a little bit better in this one.
"As far as just the feel of when you are on the field, it has a lot of similarities of the old stadium, which is nice. Somebody took the time to make sure they got it right."
Third to first
Dayan Viciedo's last three homers have either tied the game or given the White Sox the lead. His three-run blast in the ninth off of the Yankees' David Robertson on Thursday gave the White Sox a 4-3 victory.
The White Sox snapped their six-game losing streak against the Yankees and improved to 4-7 at the current Yankee Stadium.
One-time White Sox center fielder Aaron Rowand, who was part of the 2005 World Series champion squad, will serve as a guest radio analyst for the final two games of this four-game set at Yankee Stadium. Rowand replaces Darrin Jackson on the WSCR 670-AM flagship broadcast, with Jackson unavailable due to family matters.
John Danks played catch prior to Thursday's series opener, the third time he has played catch since Sunday. But Danks reported his shoulder felt about the same.
Seven players on the Yankees once played for the White Sox. They are Boone Logan, Andruw Jones, Jayson Nix, Dewayne Wise, Freddy Garcia, Chris Stewart and Nick Swisher.
Include White Sox manager Robin Ventura as a fan already of the Kevin Youkilis trade. "Kenny [Williams] went out and got the right guy," said Ventura.