Almost as important as Chris Sale’s outing Tuesday was how he felt Wednesday.
The Boston Red Sox ace has been sidelined twice this season with left shoulder inflammation, and he was activated from his most recent DL stint Tuesday, making a one-inning start later that day. Sale was allotted 40 pitches for the night, but after throwing 26 in a scoreless opening frame, Boston manager Alex Cora elected to yank the left-hander and have him throw his remaining pitches in the bullpen.
In response to Sale’s workload Tuesday, Cora during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria” on Wednesday indicated that Sale is, by comparison, feeling pretty good.
“I think he’s going to be honest and comparing his situation, compared to when he went on the DL and after Baltimore, he feels good,” Cora said, as transcribed by WEEI. “He feels good.”
Sale made his first return from the DL on Aug. 12, but he made just one start — Cora’s aforementioned outing against the Baltimore Orioles — and didn’t bounce back the way he wanted to, leading to the most recent stint.
While the Red Sox are loaded with talent, it will be tough for them to get far without Sale at full strength. He eased back into things Tuesday, with his fastball velocity down a bit from where it usually is (though it still hovered in the mid-to-upper 90s) and he didn’t work as quickly as he usually does.
Cora readily admitted that Sale’s mechanics were a bit off and that he was regaining his feel for things, but assured that the southpaw will be in the state he needs to be in once the playoffs begin.
“He will be where he needs to be,” Cora said. “We’re counting on this guy in October, and I feel confident that he’s going to contribute.”
Sale’s next start is scheduled for Sunday’s game against the New York Mets. He’s not expected to go too deep into the game, but will spend ensuing starts stretching out a bit more.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports