Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora was understandably pleased with the way left-hander Chris Sale looked during his rehab start Tuesday in Double-A Portland.
“He feels great. Actually, he’s going through his Day One progression in Portland. He’ll be with us tomorrow and, if I’m not mistaken, he’ll be back on the mound with his regular rest, which is Sunday,” Cora said during a video conference before Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. “Everybody is excited with what we saw yesterday. I’m happier with the way he reacted today and hopefully we keep progressing the way he should be and he’ll join us whenever he’s ready.”
Cora further acknowledged one aspect which perhaps depicts Sale’s mental approach since Tommy John surgery.
“He was a little bit off mechanic-wise early on. That’s part of the progression, right? Now he’s pitching in front of fans, obviously the competition is a little bit better. But he settled down and he was able to repeat his delivery,” Cora said. “The slider was really good. The fastball, obviously, was up velocity-wise. So everybody is very happy with the way the outing went. Like I said, when he was warming up he was excited, he was little off, but he was able to repeat it and it was great.”
Sale, who threw 34 of his 49 pitches for strikes, clocked 98 mph on his fastball during the first inning.
Cora believes Sale will return to the mound back in Double-A Portland on Sunday given the fact the Sea Dogs are playing at home. Triple-A Worcester is on the road through the weekend and will return home July 27.