When the Red Sox open the 2020 Major League Baseball season, someone other than Chris Sale will throw the first pitch for Boston.

Sox manager Ron Roenicke announced Thursday that Sale won’t be ready to go on Opening Day. Sale, according to Roenicke, isn’t injured, but he simply won’t be ready amid an ongoing recovery from a bout of pneumonia.

Sale’s illness has pushed back his spring training workload, and the Red Sox are taking a cautious approach with the ace left-hander. Sale is coming off the worst season of his career in 2019. He made 25 starts and logged 147 1/3 innings, both of which were career lows since he became a starting pitcher in 2012. The 30-year-old went 6-11 with a career-worst 4.40 ERA.

He made his final appearance of the season on Aug. 13 before eventually being shut down with lingering arm problems. Sale experienced elbow inflammation that ultimately ended the 2019 campaign and had a PRP injection while avoiding Tommy John surgery.

With Sale on the sideline and David Price now in Los Angeles, Eduardo Rodriguez is the presumptive Opening Day starter for Boston, assuming he makes it through spring training unscathed. As to who ends up entering the starting rotation while Sale is out, that remains to be seen. The Red Sox, after all, only have four starting pitcher slots filled (including Sale) and have yet to publicly announce a plan for the No. 5 starter. Now, for at least two weeks to begin the season, they’ll also have to find an additional starter.

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