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Amid swirling trade rumors, Chris Sale scratched from start after 'clubhouse incident'

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Sale, perhaps the biggest target as this year's non-waiver trade deadline approaches, was scratched from his Saturday night start against the Detroit Tigers. But it wasn't because of a pending deal. Instead, the Chicago White Sox sent the pitcher home because of a "clubhouse incident."

The team released a statement before Saturday's game.

"Chris Sale has been scratched from tonight's scheduled start and sent home from the ballpark by the White Sox due to a clubhouse incident before the game," said team general manager Rick Hahn. "The incident, which was non-physical in nature, currently is under further investigation by the club."

The incident, it tuns out, was for Sale cutting up throwback jerseys that he didn't want to wear.

Sale is 14-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts for the White Sox this season, with 129 strikeouts in 133 innings. Just last week he was the starting pitcher for the American League in the 2016 MLB All-Star Game. The left-hander has finished in the top six in AL Cy Young voting in the last four seasons, averaging 225 strikeouts, 197 innings, and a 2.95 ERA from 2012-2015.

Sale is under contract through 2017 and has two very team-friendly club options for 2018 and 2019, so any team trading for him gets a ready-made ace likely for three more seasons beyond just 2016. Ken Rosenthal on Thursday reported the White Sox were offered a "king's ransom" for Sale and simply said no.

Whatever the incident was, it isn't the first time Sale has quarreled with the White Sox this season. During spring training, when Adam LaRoche retired after being told he couldn't bring his son Drake to work every day, Sale hung a Drake LaRoche jersey in his locker, and reportedly during a meeting yelled at Sox team president Ken Williams, telling him to get out of the clubhouse.

The non-waiver trade deadline is Monday, Aug. 1.