BOSTON (CBS) — Chris Sale may be a bona fide ace when he’s on the mound, but that doesn’t mean he’s avoided issues off the field. His high-profile incident last season, involving some ill-fated White Sox throwback jerseys, was bound to come up when the Red Sox’s newest starter first met the media in Fort Myers.
It was the kind of story that would be an even bigger distraction if it happened in Boston, but Sale is ready to focus on baseball – and he intends to keep it that way throughout the 2017 season.
Speaking with reporters for the first time since arriving for Red Sox spring training, Sale was asked several times about the incident in Chicago last season. Sale reportedly cut up the White Sox’s throwback jerseys in protest of having to wear them on a day that he started.
After joking that he doesn’t have to worry about throwback jerseys in Boston, Sale opened up on how he’s moved on from the incident and that similar concerns won’t exist with the Red Sox.
“It all goes to the passion I have for playing the game,” said Sale. “Nobody’s perfect. You’re going to make mistakes. All I’m going to say on that is, you live and you learn.
“It was something I learned from, but I’ll leave it at that.”
Sale is notorious for intensity on the mound, which has apparently spilled into the clubhouse at times. But he said it all boils down to his competitiveness as a ballplayer and not a reflection of him as a person.
“I’m a completely different person when I’m [not on the mound] and when I’m in-between the painted lines,” said Sale. “There’s definitely a sort of switch that goes on.”
As long as Sale can channel his intensity toward continuing to pitch well every fifth day – and avoid the kind of blow-ups that he had with the White Sox – he should do just fine in a Red Sox uniform.