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Levine: Chris Sale On Pace For April 12 Start

By Bruce Levine--

GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) -- All systems are a go for White Sox ace Chris Sale to make his season debut on April 12. Injured on Feb. 27 with a sprain and break in his right foot, Sale threw a simulated game of 75 pitches Friday over a five-inning stop-and-start system.

Sale's velocity and command were good, according to him and pitching coach Don Cooper.

Sale faced White Sox position players in his session and is now scheduled to pitch in minor league games until returning to the parent club.

"We did not want him to come out of his shoes the first time he saw hitters," Cooper said after monitoring the Sale outing "He controlled himself very well, and we got exactly what we wanted from him. We basically had him use fastball/change-up, but we mixed in some breaking balls as well."

Sale getting back to the rotation may save the White Sox from having to add a veteran to the roster like Scott Carroll or Brad Penny. Chicago won't need a fifth starter until April 12.

"Right now it appears he will be on time to make that start if he does not have any setbacks," Cooper said. "His rehabs have gone good, and he even made a nice (fielding play). We need him to start moving around and make some fielding plays to get him ready."

Sale unleashed six straight fastballs for his final pitches, and a velocity uptick was noticeable.

"I was just trying to get a good feel were I am at," Sale said. "It's a little different when you throw bullpens and then face live hitters again. I tried to reach back at the end and see what it looked like to (the hitters)."

Sale knows he still needs work on his conditioning but insisted that his foot has recovered from the trauma of the accident that took place. He hasn't run or taken pitcher's fielding practice yet in his recovery.

Next week will be devoted to building up strength and endurance in his right foot.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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