Chris Sale is on the mend after ending his 2019 season early due to a nagging elbow injury, and he’s been making steady progress (minus a small setback due to a bout of pneumonia, of course).

The Boston Red Sox southpaw threw a 15-pitch live batting practice Sunday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla. in which he threw to his first batter since Aug. 13. After the session, pitching coach Dave Bush appeared to have liked what he’d seen.

“So far, he’s already shown that (he’s confident),” Bush said, as seen on NESN. “He feels healthy. All the issues he had last year are behind him at this point, so the build-up is the same as it would be for any pitcher, and that’s probably the most important thing is that he is on track and on time. Other than being delayed from being sick, his progression is on track and on time with where I’d expect it to be. That will allow him — when he’s ready — to go into the season without any restrictions and he can pitch and be the guy he wants to be.”

Sale had been “itching” to get on the mound for a while, but Bush wants to assure the 30-year-old goes about things properly.

“We’re trying to make sure we do it, like I said, at the right steps so that he does it in a way that’s going to allow him to be healthy when he is ready,” Bush said. “But he was ready for it. He looked good physically. He felt good. We’ll just get out there again, I guess, in four days from now and have a little bit more, and then hopefully a game not too long after that.”

The Red Sox certainly will need their ace at full strength after losing David Price and Rick Porcello in the offseason. But it sounds like Sale is on the right track at the moment.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images