Posted on July 24, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The Chicago White Sox scratched ace Chris Sale from his scheduled start Saturday night against the Detroit Tigers following a pre-game clubhouse incident. The incident comes amidst trade rumors surrounding Sale that are reportedly picking up steam; however, reports indicate the incident revolved around the team’s uniforms.
“Chris Sale has been scratched from tonight’s scheduled start and sent home from the ballpark by the White Sox due to a clubhouse incident before the game,” GM Rick Hahn said in a statement released roughly 30 minutes before game time. “The incident, which was non-physical in nature, currently is under further investigation by the club. The White Sox will have no additional comment until the investigation is completed.”
The White Sox have kept quiet about the incident other than releasing that statement, but several reports indicate Sale was upset about the throwback jerseys the team was scheduled to wear Saturday night. One report states that Sale had a confrontation with a member of the front office after voicing his displeasure at the jerseys and was then sent home from U.S. Cellular Field. Another report states that Sale cut up the jerseys during batting practice so no one could wear them.
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The jerseys in question were navy, collared throwbacks from 1976. Sale reportedly described them as uncomfortable and accused the organization of valuing “PR and jersey sales” more than wins. Of course, that statement could relate to Hahn’s comments earlier in the week that he’s “open-minded” about any trade offer he receives from other teams, including offers for Sale.
The White Sox ended up wearing red, white, and blue throwback jerseys from 1983. Relief pitcher Matt Albers filled in for Sale, and the game was suspended in the 8th inning tied at three and will be completed before Sunday’s regularly scheduled game between the White Sox and Tigers. Chicago manager Robin Ventura said Sale will not start Sunday; Jose Quintana will make his regularly scheduled start.
When asked about the alleged incident involving Sale following the game, all Ventura said was: “I know the team put out a press release on that, and we’re just going to stick with that. I’m not going to discuss what went on in there. But it’s unfortunate he didn’t start tonight, and I’m proud of the guys that came in and filled in.” Several White Sox players also declined to comment afterwards, preferring to keep the incident “in house.”
How much the recent trade speculation surrounding Sale played a role in Saturday’s incident remains unclear. By all accounts, Sale does not wish to be traded. Hahn has admitted that trading him to Quintana “may be extreme,” but has not ruled it out. The GM has also suggested it would take five high-level prospects for a team to acquire Sale, although that may not deter some teams from taking a shot. In the meantime, all we can do is wait for the White Sox to divulge more information or for Sale to speak to the media, all amidst continued speculation that he could be traded.