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Sale gives glimpse of how difficult he can be

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Sale was the first White Sox starter to the mound for live batting practice Wednesday at Camelback Ranch, eventually throwing two sessions.

Judging by the reaction of Avisail Garcia, Jose Abreu and Gordon Beckham in the box against the White Sox ace, Sale might already be ahead of schedule in 2014 preparation.

Of course, pitchers being well ahead of hitters who aren't officially scheduled to report until Thursday might have factored into some of the perplexed looks attached to Sale offerings.

"There was a lot of take practice. I know it was supposed to be live. There were real good takes for everybody," said a smiling White Sox manager Robin Ventura, acknowledging the toughness of facing Sale in this first session.

"They go out there and do their best just to give the pitcher some looks of somebody standing in there, but I don't think anybody is ready to start facing Chris before we even start," Ventura said. "It's good to go out there and see it. You don't have to swing or do anything. Get your eyes used to it."

Sale said that it was good just to get a feel of having a body in there, seeing how they react, throwing a few breaking balls and getting feedback from them on his pitches. His arm felt good, he felt loose and he'll be ready to throw another live BP in two days.

It won't take Sale too much preparation to be ready for the Cactus League opening start on Feb. 28 against the Dodgers, with a second straight Opening Day start most likely on the horizon for March 31.

"A handful of bullpens, a couple live BPs and I should be ready to go," Sale said. "I should have enough feel to get out there and hit the ground running a little bit and not take too much time getting ready."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
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