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Chris Sale settles into spring training, credits Hector Gimenez

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Journeyman catcher gets rave reviews for handling star pitcher on top of 3-for-3 day

USA TODAY Sports

Chris Sale was supposed to throw two to three innings on Friday afternoon, but he struggled to make it out of the first. Although he struck out Michael Bourn to start his day, he ended up throwing 28 pitches in the first inning, and only 15 for strikes.

Eventually he found a groove, finishing with 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out three (including Bourn again on his second time through). He threw 20 more pitches after the first, and 14 were strikes.

He talked about his start in this extended video recap of the day. It's thorough enough that you can watch Dayan Viciedo take Justin Masterson way, way out of the park around the 1:18 mark, but not so thorough that you can get an idea of his leg kick. Alas.

That Sale is pleased with his debut is worth noting, because we learned last year that he takes the preseason too seriously.

But more interesting are Sale's comments about Hector Gimenez, who is nailing all parts of his audition. He went 3-for-3 on Friday to raise his spring average to a cool .714 (in eight PA), and he's thrown out a pair of runners. Now he's getting laudatory quotes from Sale about his ability to read a pitcher, so his audition is shaping up pretty nicely.

Daryl Van Schouwen got some background on Gimenez's quest to get his first major-league foothold at the ripe old age of 30:

"It’s a great opportunity I have here," said Gimenez, who is taking nothing for granted when it comes to winning the job. (He has a wife and two kids in Venezuela, including one six weeks old, to feed.) "They’ve given me a chance to establish myself in the big leagues, which is something I’ve been looking for for years. Unfortunately, a couple of injuries separated me from the big leagues in the past. But I never gave up. I come to the United States every year ready to work and to be the guy they need me to be."