Manager Robin Ventura told Chris Sale he was as the opening day starter before the prized White Sox left-hander experienced his roughest spring outing.

Sale, who won 17 games in his first season as a starter, was tagged for five runs on seven hits in five-plus innings Saturday in the Sox's 11-5 victory over the A's.

"We feel very confident giving him the ball for the first start," Ventura told reporters afterward about Sale, who will face the visiting Royals on April 1.

Ventura said he delayed making the inevitable decision because he wanted Sale get his work in.

"It's something to motivate him the last two weeks to get out there and go. He's ready to do that."