What exactly is going on with Chris Sale?
It’s one of the many questions facing the Boston Red Sox as they enter the offseason after a disappointing 2019 campaign in which they missed the playoffs, and it’s a question that might linger throughout the winter as the left-hander continues to recover from an elbow injury that cost him the final month and a half of the season.
“He’ll go home in the next few days and he’ll keep rehabbing down there in Fort Myers,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters Sunday after Boston defeated the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 in its final game of the year. “As far as going to see (Dr. James) Andrews, nothing yet. Throwing? Nothing yet.”
Sale, whose last start came Aug. 13, was placed on the injured list with elbow inflammation Aug. 17. He avoided Tommy John surgery, instead receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection from Dr. James Andrews, who at the time recommended a follow-up exam in six weeks.
Red Sox executive vice president/assistant general manager Brian O’Halloran on Monday confirmed that Sale hasn’t scheduled a second appointment with Andrews or attempted to throw. The organization expects Sale to be ready for spring training, though, with the obvious goal of the lefty regaining his ace form in 2020.
“That visit (with Andrews) is not scheduled yet but he will visit it him at some point,” O’Halloran said. ” … Sometimes schedules change, so we’re taking it step by step. He will see him at some point, but it has not happened to date.”
He added: “There was a range of when that could begin (throwing) and we’re taking that a little bit slower than we initially anticipated, just to be certain. Once he was totally shut down, we took a close look at his schedule, and our medical staff recommended we take it slowly just to give him as much time as possible to heal before we start throwing, but that will happen sometime in the near future.”
Sale, who turns 31 in March, went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA, a 3.39 FIP, a 1.09 WHIP and 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 25 starts this season, the worst of his career no matter how you slice it. He finished in the top six in American League Cy Young voting in each of the last seven seasons before 2019.
Sale, a seven-time All-Star, signed a five-year, $145 million contract extension back in March. He’s slated to earn $30 million in the first year of the deal in 2020.