There’s suddenly a dark cloud hanging over JetBlue Park.
The Red Sox entered spring training with an us-against-the-world mentality after a blockbuster trade sending Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers tempered expectations for the 2020 season. Now, Boston’s faith really could be tested, as Chris Sale’s campaign seemingly hangs in the balance.
The left-hander underwent an MRI on his sore pitching elbow Monday, one day after throwing a 15-pitch live batting practice session in Fort Myers, Fla. The team didn’t disclose the results, but Sale’s medicals have been sent to well-known orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews for further review, and Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom acknowledged Tuesday there’s some inherent concern regarding the hurler’s health.
“Anytime something like this happens, it’s going to make you concerned,” Bloom told reporters in Tampa, per MassLive.com. “I also know, in building up when you do hit these milestones, you can get sore. He hasn’t faced hitters in a long time. To speculate too much would be irresponsible. Needless to say, everything has gone so well to this point. This is our first bump in the road. Hopefully, it’s just a bump in the road. You can’t help but have some concern.”
Sunday marked the first time Sale faced hitters since being shut down for the final six weeks of the 2019 season with elbow inflammation. He avoided surgery last August, instead opting for a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection and rest, per Andrews’ recommendation, but Sale reported to the team’s spring training complex Monday feeling soreness in his elbow.
It’s unclear at this point whether Sale will require Tommy John surgery, as that’s obviously the fear that comes to mind whenever Andrews’ name enters the equation. Sale already was slated to begin the season on the injured list, though, as a bout with pneumonia hindered his preparation this spring.
“At a minimum, even if this is fairly benign, we know this is going to set him back to some degree,” Bloom said Tuesday, according to The Boston Globe. “How long? Again, I don’t know yet.”
Basically, Bloom — who met Tuesday with interim manager Ron Roenicke, assistant general manager Eddie Romero, pitching coach Dave Bush and media relations director Kevin Gregg — didn’t want to make any guesses about Sale’s status moving forward. But the Red Sox surely are holding their collective breath, knowing their chances of contending in the American League East this season would take a huge hit if Sale goes under the knife.
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images