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Sale to start Thursday against Yankees

Left-hander set to return after more than month on disabled list with flexor strain

KANAS CITY-- White Sox ace Chris Sale makes his return to the mound Thursday against the Yankees, more than a month since his last start.

"It's been a long time," Sale said. "It's something that took a lot longer than I expected, but it's finally here."

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The White Sox announced Sale's return from the 15-day disabled list (left flexor strain) on Wednesday, one day after he tossed a successful bullpen session before Chicago's 7-6 win over the Royals on Tuesday.

"It seems like I've been in here for three months, watching baseball, not really doing anything," Sale said. "You feel excluded, everyone's doing their part and chipping in and helping win ballgames, and I'm just sitting over there on the sidelines with pom-poms in my hands really. Actually not even that, sitting in the training room with my elbow in a bucket."

White Sox manager Robin Ventura will compensate for Sale's promotion by pushing the other four starters back a day.

"He feels good, everything went as planned," Ventura said. "Talking through it last night and even this morning of a plan for him this weekend, it just made sense that he could throw tomorrow, and he's ready to go. He's more excited than anybody."

Ventura did not give a specific pitch limit for Sale.

"I don't know necessarily exactly the pitch count, but the way he's coming back and the way he's pitching will determine that, but I wouldn't expect him to be out there for nine innings," Ventura said.

In four starts this season, Sale has a 3-0 record with a 2.30 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings.

Sale last pitched April 17 in a 3-1 loss to the Red Sox. He showcased electric stuff, allowing one hit in seven innings and striking out 10. But four days later, Chicago placed the lefty on the disabled list retroactive April 18.

"Something that's comforting for me is no one was looking at me saying, 'Hey, let's go, where's the hang-up here?'" Sale said. "There was never a set date, so I never knew when I'd be out there. I didn't know until yesterday or two days ago that I was actually going to be pitching on Thursday."

The White Sox made a pair of roster moves in the wake of their 3-1 loss to the Royals on Wednesday, designating reliever Frank Francisco for assignment and moving Scott Carroll to the bullpen, according to Ventura.

With Sale and Wednesday's starter Jose Quintana entrenched in the rotation, Carroll was one of three starters vying for two spots, and based on Andre Rienzo's recent success and Hector Noesi's Major League experience, Carroll was the odd man out.

Chicago also secured its rotation for its four-game series with the Yankees starting Thursday. Noesi will follow Sale on Friday, with John Danks (Saturday) and Rienzo (Sunday) slotted into the weekend starts.

Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for

Chicago White Sox, Chris Sale