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Sale has look of opening-day starter for White Sox

(MCT) GLENDALE, Ariz. — Although manager Robin Ventura remains hesitant to name left-hander Chris Sale as the White Sox's opening-day starter, Sale reinforced his credentials Monday by pitching five-plus innings of three-hit ball in a 3-1 win over the Rockies.

Pitching in front of a crowd that included a scout from the Royals _ the Sox's April 1 opponent _ Sale needed only 58 pitches. He struck out two and didn't walk a batter while facing the minimum 15 through five innings.

"(Monday) was one of those clicking-on-all-cylinders days," said Sale, who was pulled after allowing a leadoff home run by Michael Cuddyer and an infield hit by Tyler Colvin to start the sixth. "My arm felt free, felt loose. It felt like I had good command of all my pitches."

Sale is lined up to pitch April 1, but Ventura still wouldn't commit.

"We're just not ready to do it yet," Ventura said. "We'll see how everybody does in the next couple of weeks and go from there."

Injury update: Contrary to an earlier statement by the Sox, third baseman Jeff Keppinger wasn't used as a designated hitter Monday.

Keppinger, who is coping with right shoulder irritation, could resume DH duties by Wednesday and return to the field by the end of the week, Ventura said.

Reliever Jesse Crain will throw a bullpen session Wednesday before the Sox decide when he will pitch in a game. Crain felt fine Monday, one day after throwing his second bullpen session since recovering from a right adductor strain.

Tribute to troops: Pitcher Jake Peavy played his traditional role of host to 10 wounded veterans as part of the Strikeouts for Troops program.

Peavy brought the veterans into the clubhouse and treated them to Monday's game. Peavy and Giants pitcher Barry Zito also planned to provide the veterans with a private dinner and concert.
"We don't do this to put our own face out there," Peavy said. "It's about trying to brighten these guys' day, what they've been through, and you see the shape some of them are in."

Ten trimmings: Outfielder Keenyn Walker, who batted .250 and showed promise with his speed and arm, was one of 10 players cut.

Pitchers Simon Castro and Santos Rodriguez were optioned to Triple-A Charlotte, and pitcher Nestor Molina was optioned to Double-A Birmingham. Pitchers Erik Johnson (who threw two scoreless innings Monday) and Scott Snodgress, infielders Seth Loman and Marcus Semien and outfielders Stefan Gartrell, Trayce Thompson and Walker were reassigned to minor league camp.

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