Chris Sale on Monday night took another step toward rejoining the Boston Red Sox.
Sale pitched one inning against the Tampa Bay Rays’ affiliate in the Florida Complex League in Port Charlotte, Fla. The 22-pitch appearance marked the first time the veteran left-hander competed in a game setting since Game 5 of the 2021 American League Championship Series last October.
The seven-time All-Star appears to be on track with his rehab progression and he might even be ahead of schedule in some areas like arm strength. While this might be music to the ears of Red Sox fans, manager Alex Cora wants everyone to understand that Sale still needs to check all of the boxes before returning to a big league mound.
“He’s excited. The night game is kind of cool, too. Just makes it kind of normal,” Cora told reporters Monday, per The Boston Globe. “I know people get excited when he gets on the mound, but we’ve got to be patient. We’ve got to go through the whole process, and just getting him on the mound in a game, now we can see it, right? He’ll be here at one point and he’s going to contribute.”
Fortunately for both Sale and the Red Sox, there probably isn’t a deep sense of urgency to get him back to Boston. The Sox have been receiving great contributions from their starting pitchers of late, so Sale will be an added bonus whenever he’s able to take the hill.