Sale throws simulated game ahead of 1st exhibition outing

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) Yet to pitch in an exhibition, Chris Sale threw a two-inning simulated game Wednesday morning in preparation for his first spring training action for the Boston Red Sox.

While the Red Sox traveled to Sarasota to face the Orioles, Sale faced teammates Dan Butler and Steve Selsky, with catcher Sandy Leon behind the plate and David Price and Steven Wright watching from the third base dugout. After two innings, Sale threw to three additional batters as pitching coach Carl Willis, vice president of pitching development and assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister looked on along with former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield.

”Felt good,” Sale said. ”Today was a good work day. Great to pitch on the game mound with no screen. Everything went well.”

Acquired Dec. 6 from the retooling Chicago White Sox for four top prospects, Sale threw 38 pitches. There was some solid contact in the first inning, when Butler lined what would have been a single to center.

”Threw all of my pitches,” Sale said. ”In the second inning focusing mostly on fastball/changeup. Those are my feel pitches, so I just wanted to throw those more, just for repetition.”`

Sale is slated to start Monday against Houston in West Palm Beach.

”I think I was ready on Dec. 7,” Sale said. ”I’ve been preparing for this, so I’m feeling good. Everything is going as planned.

The left-hander, who turns 28 on March 30, is part of a rotation that includes Rick Porcello and Price,

”Now we’re starting to playing real baseball and not throwing off the side mounds or simulated games,” Sale said. ”I’m excited. It will be fun.”

He has never pitched in the postseason. The Red Sox, swept by Cleveland in the AL Division Series last year, hope to win their fourth World Series title since 2003.

”I have expectations for myself wherever I am or whatever year it is,” Sale said. ”I’ve been like that at a young age. I demand a lot of myself at a high level. If I don’t meet those expectations, there’s nobody more upset than I am. For right now, just putting in the work to get to the promised land.”

His rotation mates include the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner (Porcello) and the 2012 honoree (Price).

”We like to give each other a hard time and then pick each other up when we need to be picked up,” Sale said. ”I think it would be hard not to try to raise the bar and push each other. These guys have been around longer than I have and have a lot cooler list. Being able to bounce ideas off these guys and learn from them and not only that, they’ve been here for a couple of years and they know what it’s like to go through a full season here.”