CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago White Sox suspended ace Chris Sale five days without pay for destroying collared throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear.
The White Sox announced the punishment on Sunday after Sale was scratched from his scheduled start and sent home the previous night.
The suspension comes to $250,000 of his $9.15 million salary. He was also fined about $12,700 — the cost of the destroyed jerseys — according to a person familiar with the penalty. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.
“Obviously we’re all extremely disappointed that we have to deal with this issue at this time both from the standpoint of the club as well as Chris’ perspective,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “It’s unfortunate that it has become this level of an issue and potential distraction taking away from what we’re trying to accomplish on the field.”
Sale was not expected at the ballpark on Sunday. He is eligible to return Thursday against the crosstown Cubs at Wrigley Field, though Hahn would not say if the left-hander would start that game.
The Major League Baseball Players Association declined comment, spokesman Greg Bouris said. Sale could ask the union to file a grievance.
FanRag Sports first reported Sale was protesting the 1976-style jerseys, which were navy and sported unusual collars on a hot and humid night.
Sale then cut up an unknown number of jerseys before the game and was told to leave the stadium. With not enough usable 1976 jerseys available, the White Sox wore white throwback uniforms from the 1983 season.
The incident comes with the White Sox in a tailspin after a 23-10 start and Sale’s name circulating in trade rumors.
“The actions or behaviors of the last 24 hours does not change in any aspect, any respect, our belief that Chris Sale can help this club win a championship and win multiple championships,” Hahn said. “It does not move the needle one iota in terms of his value to this club, his value to any other club that may be interested in his services or the likelihood of him being moved or kept whatsoever. None of that stuff is impacted at all by these events.”
This wasn’t the first flare-up involving 27-year-old Sale, who is known for his competitive streak and strict training regimen.
He was openly critical of team executive Ken Williams during spring training when he said Drake LaRoche, the son of teammate Adam LaRoche, would no longer be allowed in the clubhouse. Adam LaRoche retired as a result, and Sale hung the LaRoches’ jerseys in his locker.
He was also suspended five games by Major League Baseball last season for his role in a brawl at Kansas City that started with a flare-up between teammate Adam Eaton and the Royals’ Yordano Ventura. Sale went to the Royals clubhouse after he got tossed and was seen pounding on the door.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.