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Sale throws live BP, weighs in on spring plan

MLB.com @scottmerkin

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Casey Schroeder arrives at Class A Kannapolis or Class A Advanced Winston-Salem this season, the White Sox Minor League catcher won't have to worry about facing a more talented pitcher than he did during live batting practice Saturday at Camelback Ranch.

The eighth-round selection in the 2015 Draft stood among the group of hitters who got to occasionally challenge staff ace Chris Sale during his second live BP since camp began. Schroeder also had a chance to leave with a souvenir or two after his work was done.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Casey Schroeder arrives at Class A Kannapolis or Class A Advanced Winston-Salem this season, the White Sox Minor League catcher won't have to worry about facing a more talented pitcher than he did during live batting practice Saturday at Camelback Ranch.

The eighth-round selection in the 2015 Draft stood among the group of hitters who got to occasionally challenge staff ace Chris Sale during his second live BP since camp began. Schroeder also had a chance to leave with a souvenir or two after his work was done.

• Sale ramping up slowly

"He gave me some firewood for tonight," said a smiling Schroeder of the broken bats induced by Sale. "I'll be able to build a fire at the hotel."

With all due respect to Schroeder, the story Saturday centered on Sale. This focused side session will be part of Sale's program to get ready for the regular season over the next few weeks before making his Cactus League debut on March 19 against the Dodgers.

White Sox Spring Training information | Schedule

Sale didn't pitch in a Cactus League contest last spring after suffering a broken bone in his right foot exactly one year ago. That injury ultimately had a silver lining in that the four-time All-Star felt fresh upon his delayed regular-season arrival, even without the extensive game work.

So the strengthening process and the overall preparation become most important for the first half of Spring Training.

"We've come up with a formula to give me more practice time and not so much game situations," Sale said. "But just more of trying to build up and focus on throwing strikes, throwing quality strikes, instead of in games. Sometimes you get out in a game and you get into pitching. We are going to try to focus a little bit more on what we are doing.

Video: Robin Ventura on preparing the pitching staff

"Last year gave me a pretty good gauge of what we need to do out here. That formula is what we are trying to find, what works best. Not only that, but we are facing teams that we face early on in the season as well. Try not to give them too many looks, I guess."

There wasn't as much throwing done this past offseason by Sale, who focused on working out and added Pilates back into his routine on Wednesdays at Beyond Motion in Naples, Fla.

"Get extended maybe once a week," Sale said of his offseason throwing. "More finding a release point, arm slot, getting the mechanics down. Not a heavy workload throwing."

Live batting practice, simulated games and possibly a Minor League contest will be on Sale's immediate agenda. He'll also be working to find a groove with new catchers Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro, as Avila got the nod on Saturday.

"We're figuring out what we like," Sale said of the catchers. "Do you care if I set up late, or down on a knee? What's it like when you're doing this or where do you prefer the glove to be? All normal stuff, but it's been great so far."

"I don't think it's necessary for him just to have one that they have to throw to," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Sale, who only threw to Tyler Flowers over the past two seasons. "Both guys are good catchers. They're known as good receivers."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Chicago White Sox, Chris Sale