Chris Sale Pitched Through Toe Injury In April, Red Sox Pitching Coach Reveals

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Previously unclear reasons for Chris Sale’s slow start in 2019 now are coming into focus.

Boston Red Sox pitching coach Dana LeVangie revealed to The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey the team ace was battling a toe injury last month. Sale started 0-5, and the Red Sox lost each of his six starts in late March and in April, prompting many to blame his reduced spring training workload and perhaps his $145 million contract extension contract for his early-season woes.

LeVangie admits those factors played roles in Sale’s April struggles but also indicates the injury troubled the 30-year-old.

“Chris’ spring training was different,” LeVangie said. “We tried to do the exact same things we did last year. The only difference is, Chris was going through contract negotiations, (but) he had a little bit of a toe injury that slowed him down a little bit, so there were some things that led up to the early-on stuff. I basically felt like he was going through his spring training, sort of in April.”

Sale has won only one of his four starts in May, but the Red Sox prevailed in three of those outings. Furthermore, Sale struck out 51 batters in his last four starts, as his normal velocity returns to normal levels following its curious April absence.

Chances are we’ll never learn to what extent the previously undisclosed toe injury hobbled Sale, but it’s safe to say he, his Red Sox teammates and coaches and fans are ecstatic he seemingly has overcome the problem.

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