On May 4, the White Sox announced that Sale would move from the starting rotation to the bullpen for the remainder of the season due to tenderness in his left elbow. But after an MRI on Thursday came back clean, and Sale made a plea to be returned to the rotation, it was decided on Friday that he would resume a starting role.
Saturday will be his first career start against the Royals, as the White Sox go for back-to-back wins in the weekend set at U.S. Cellular Field.
Sale was great in five starts this season before moving to the bullpen. The left-hander never allowed more than three runs in an outing, and his ERA stood at 2.81 when the move was made. In one relief appearance, Sale blew a save chance by allowing an unearned run in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 5-3 win in 10 innings against the Indians.
Kansas City's starter on Saturday, Luke Hochevar, has had just one role this season, but it's seemed as if he's been two different pitchers.
In three of his six starts, Hochevar's allowed two runs or fewer with a 2-0 record, while his ERA in those three starts is 2.55. The other three starts have been atrocious, though. Hochevar has twice surrendered seven runs and once allowed nine. The right-hander's lost all three games and while posting a 20.03 ERA.
Hochevar is coming off consecutive poor starts -- giving up nine runs to the Tigers in four innings on May 1, while lasting just 2 1/3 innings after allowing seven runs to the Yankees his last time out.
"He didn't execute the pitches, didn't make good pitches on days that he got hit, and did execute and make good pitches when he pitched really well," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's just a matter of consistency, getting into a solid, consistent pattern of executing your pitches."
Saturday will mark Hochevar's 10th career start against the White Sox. He's 3-4 with a 4.40 ERA in his career against Chicago.
Royals: Three is a magic number
The Royals entered Friday's action tied for the American League lead in triples, with eight. Seven different Royals hitters have tripled this season. Second baseman Chris Getz is the only player with more than one.
Billy Butler has had a lot of success against the White Sox in his career. He's hit 13 home runs, scored 43 runs and driven in 58 runs against Chicago, more than he's recorded in each category against any other team.
White Sox: Konerko crushes KC
First baseman Paul Konerko has hit 41 home runs and driven in 135 runs against the Royals in his career. The 135 RBIs rank second among active players against the Royals, behind only Philadelphia's Jim Thome.
Adam Dunn's home run in the first inning on Friday tied him with Carlton Fisk for 68th on the all-time home run leaderboard with 376.
Relief pitcher Jesse Crain began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. Crain has been on the disabled list since April 27 with a strained left oblique.
Despite Konerko's power numbers against Kansas City, Hochevar has allowed just four hits in 21 career at-bats to the Chicago first baseman. Two of those hits have been home runs.
Sale has appeared in 11 games against the Royals in his career, with a 1-2 record and a 3.14 ERA.