ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (MCT) — Pitching coach Don Cooper took exception to critics who believe Chris Sale shouldn’t have been allowed to throw a career-high 115 pitches Monday during his 15-strikeout performance.
“Pitch counts are for people who have never been in the game,” Cooper said Tuesday.
To prove his point that the Sox have protected Sale, Cooper said the team has had Sale skip bullpen sessions between starts and knew before Monday’s start that Sale would get an additional day of rest before his next start because Thursday is a day off.
“So all I can tell you is we’re monitoring him as well as everybody else on this team as well as everyone else for the last 11 years I’ve been here,” Cooper said. “And check the record and look. If somebody goes down, it’s a rarity. We don’t want anyone to go down. We are doing everything in our power.”
Cooper said the Sox took precautionary measures with John Danks, who was pulled after only 83 pitches May 19 and was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of soreness behind his left shoulder, and that Sale had a turn skipped earlier this month because of arm soreness.
“But this pitch count thing, we’re in the American League,” Cooper said. “We’re not in Little League. But nevertheless, people who bring up pitch counts are people who have nothing else to really know. And it just blows me away. They’re doing that to say, ‘God forbid if someone goes down, I told you so.’ And these are people who are not in the arena and never really played, so what kind of validity does any of that hold?
“... Stick to whatever their hobbies are, these pitch count (guys).”
Meanwhile, Sale said he felt fine after playing long toss and performing his normal routine the day after a start.
Extra innings: Jake Peavy believes friend and Phillies ace Roy Halladay can avoid surgery after suffering a strain of his latissimus dorsi muscle near his right shoulder that will sideline him from six to eight weeks. ... Paul Konerko said former teammate Magglio Ordonez, who will announce his retirement Sunday, is “definitely the best all-around player that I played with.” Ordonez batted .307 and hit 187 home runs with the Sox from 1997 to 2004. ... Third baseman Brent Morel left for Triple-A Charlotte to start his minor league rehabilitation assignment. Morel, who is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Saturday, showed no signs of lower back discomfort during batting and fielding practice about 41/2 hours before Tuesday’s game.