Chris Sale takes a big step in his rehab from Tommy John surgery Tuesday.
Sale threw three innings and struck out five batters during a start with the Florida Complex League last week and felt good afterward. He has not pitched in a Major League Baseball game since the 2019 season, but is expected to join the Red Sox at some point this summer.
The hard-throwing lefty has made it clear he’ll play any role he team needs him to, but manager Alex Cora has said he wants to remain away from putting Sale in the bullpen.
“Our goal is for him when he gets here to be a starter,” Cora told the hosts. “We want him stretched out. There’s a chance he can go four innings today, depending on how many pitches he throws.”
Sale and Cora exchanged texts before his start, and the pitcher told Cora that head athletic trainer Brad Pearson was more nervous than Sale.
“I just text him and he’s like, ‘I’m good, you should text Brad,’ who’s our athletic trainer, ‘he’s the one having trouble breathing up here.’ So he’s more nervous than Chris. If it’s up to Chris, he’ll pitch seven innings and then be ready in five days to pitch for us. We’ve been so disciplined and so patient with him that a month or whatever, three weeks, is not gonna deviate us from what we’re trying to accomplish. And when he gets here he will be ready to contribute, and hopefully he can help us get to October and win 11 or 12 games in October.”
Sale hit 98 mph on the radar gun in his first inning with the Sea Dogs. So he certainly will be a welcome addition to the rotation, especially in October if the Red Sox want to make a lengthy postseason run.