By Connor McKnight

GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) — Chris Sale put plenty in the rearview mirror with his start against the Reds this afternoon.  The White Sox may have lost 1-0, but Sale’s six innings of two-hit, six-strikeout ball is certainly a silver lining that outshines the final score.

“I wasn’t trying to throw the nastiest breaking ball thrown or throw 100 mph on every pitch,” Sale said.  “It was calm, cool and collected instead of trying to do something that I’m not capable of doing.”

It’s a simple enough approach, but it proved effective.  Sale’s change-up and slider were outstanding in the 55-degree air, and his fastball had plenty of command to go with.

“Off-speed stuff is what helped me,” Sale continued. “Being able to throw that for strikes, up in the count or behind in the count … always helps.”

Sale’s ERA –not that it’s terrifically important– drops to 5.40 with the outing. What’s far more germane is that his confidence has returned — even if it did take throwing a bad bullpen session earlier in the week.

“[I] threw, probably a horrible bullpen [session], and was kind of down on myself about the previous two outings and the bullpen itself,” Sale said.  “[Pitching coach Don Cooper] was just like, ‘Hey, this is a process. The greatest pitchers in the game don’t become great pitchers overnight. It’s a process. Every time you get out there you’re getting better.’ [The message was] not to get as frustrated with myself as I have been.”

Ventura Trims Roster

Manager Robin Ventura and staff made their first big round of cuts this spring today.

Those sent to AAA Charlotte were; RHP Anthony Carter, RHP Simon Castro (acquired from San Diego in the Carlos Quentin trade), RHP Deunte Heath, LHP Pedro Hernandez, LHP Charlie Leesman, RHP Jhan Martinez, INF Ozzie Martinez and LHP Donnie Veal.

Nestor Molina (a right-hander picked up from Toronto in the Sergio Santos trade) and LHP Jose Quintana were sent to AA Birmingham.

Catcher Michael Blanke, INF Tyler Kuhn, OF Jared Mitchell and OF Trayce Thompson were reassigned to minor league camp.

“[It’s] not a great part of the game, but it’s just one of those things,” Ventura said. “You’re kind of slimming down, getting closer to the guys you’re going to take to start the season.  It’s part of the game.”

The true notable releases were Thompson, Mitchell and Ozzie Martinez.  While no one expected Thompson or Mitchell to make the club, Ventura mentioned that both put on a bit of a show while they were in camp.

“They’re young, but that’s what I told them,” Ventura said. “I said, ‘You did make an impression.’ They’re great young men that, for us, it’s the future; watching them continue to grow.”

If there’s a disappointing player in the bunch, it would have to be Ozzie Martinez.  Said to have a shot at the 25-man roster as a back-up infielder, Martinez failed to make any kind of impression in the first 16 games of spring.

Sox Still Not Worried About Crain

Jesse Crain played catch today as a step in his comeback from a strained oblique. He hasn’t pitched since being scratched from an appearance last Wednesday. Ventura says he’s not worried, yet.

“If you’re getting four days away from the season opening up you’d be concerned and take precautions against that,” Ventura said.  “I’m still with [Trainer] Herm [Schneider].  If he’s telling me I have nothing to worry about, then I have nothing to worry about.”
For more White Sox spring training coverage from Glendale, Ariz, click here. Find all of Connor McKnights’s spring training blogs here and follow him on Twitter (@McKnight670).

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