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Baseball / Sports

Chris Sale says he matured during White Sox' dismal season

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As the White Sox continue their reconstruction following the 2013 season, they have made it known they would consider dealing several players if they thought it would benefit their long-term goals.

Even Chris Sale briefly made it to the rumor mill, gossip that while highly unlikely still caught the Sox ace off-guard.

"I had friends and family call me, 'Hey, man, you getting traded?'" Sale said. "I said, 'What are you talking about?' 'Man, your name is popping up all over the place.' (I said,) 'What is all this about?' "

As expected, Sale returned to Camelback Ranch on Saturday for the first day of Sox spring training. He will look to build on being one of the bright spots of 2013, when he went 11-14 with a 3.07 ERA and finished fifth in American League Cy Young Award voting.

"I just try to do the same things that I always have done," Sale said. "Try to be the same person I always have been and not change anything. You're here for a reason and what got you here works, so why change it until need be?"

The Sox's 99-loss season dampened the success Sale had, but he will take it as a learning experience.

"Any time you go through something like that or something negative, you always try to bring some kind of positive from it," Sale said. "Last year made me a better pitcher, a better teammate and a better person because anyone can start throwing stuff and swearing at people and pointing fingers, but that really made me kind of grow up in a sense of knowing that these guys are giving everything they have for me and it's just not working out.

"It's not any single person's fault. It's not going to do me any good to grab someone and shake 'em, probably because they're bigger than me too. But you have to work together, and last year made us work together and really be closer in terms of off the field and in the clubhouse."

Extra innings: Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said his shoulder is 100 percent and free of pain after the minor surgery he had late in 2013. ... Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the team is optimistic new reliever Mitchell Boggs, who signed earlier this month, can regain the success he experienced before a rough 2013 season with the Cardinals and Rockies.

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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