Manager defends ace Chris Sale

CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura strongly defended his staff ace Chris Sale against accusations that the pitcher conducted himself improperly during a game one day earlier.

Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus felt Sale hit Victor Martinez with a pitch both intentionally and without merit during a game Wednesday. Sale seemed to suggest on the field during two Martinez at-bats that the slugger was getting pitch location help from somewhere in the stadium.

"It was just weak on Sale's part," Ausmus was quoted as saying to the assembled media after Wednesday's game.

Ventura's retort Thursday is that Ausmus has his own team to run and should be doing just that.

"I know Chris is not weak; I know that," Ventura said. "I know, if anything, he's not weak and we don't do weak things. And Chris doesn't do weak things. He should probably worry about his own team and invest a little more in his own team. Don't worry about my team."

What seemed to confirm Sale's suspicions was an at-bat in the third inning when Martinez actually struck out. Catcher Tyler Flowers set up for the pitch well inside and Sale threw it high and outside. Martinez, widely regarded as one of the best hitters in the game right now, swung weakly as if he thought a much different pitch was coming.

After the strikeout, Sale pointed toward center field where somebody apparently could be relaying pitch locations. After he hit Martinez with the pitch in the sixth inning, Sale pointed toward center field again.

Sale was in the clubhouse before Thursday's game against the Kansas City Royals, but did not speak to reporters.

Ventura was asked if it was weak on Ausmus' part that he labeled Sale as weak, and the manager seemed to suggest there is more to the story.

"Unless you get all the information," said Ventura, who was not any more forthcoming than that.

Ausmus did not back down from his stance on Sale when speaking to reporters Thursday.

Ventura was asked if he thinks there will be a carryover of hard feelings into next season.

"No, right now I'm done talking about it," Ventura said. "Chris is a great pitcher and he's not a weak person. Nor does he do weak stuff. That's it."

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The benches cleared after Chris Sale hit Victor Martinez with a pitch in the Tigers' 6-1 win over the White Sox.

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