Could Chris Sale Be Used In Red Sox Bullpen Upon Return?

Chris Sale might not be in his normal starting role when he returns


Jun 10, 2022

The Boston Red Sox are patiently waiting for ace Chris Sale to fully work his way back from injury and rejoin the team.

But whenever Sale, who is progressing in his rehab — that has come with a few setbacks — from a rib fracture, returns to the mound for the Red Sox, it might not be in his usual starting role.

The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey reported on Friday that when Sale does come back, the Red Sox could opt to use him out of the bullpen. That could be a tempting option for Boston since Sale wouldn’t need to be stretched out to work more innings, meaning a quicker return to the Red Sox.

“We have to get to a point where he’s facing hitters in a live game situation before we really look at that too much,” Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush told McCaffrey. “That being said, I think everything is on the table at this point. If it suits him and us for him to come back sooner and in fewer innings and we have a bullpen that’s capable of absorbing the extra innings, then maybe that’s an option.”

McCaffrey noted that with Sale on track to throw a bullpen session on Friday and then face live hitters next week, the left-handed pitcher could return before the All-Star break.

While Boston’s pitchers have been lights out recently, Sale returning is certainly a welcomed addition for the Red Sox. And if they choose to put his powerful arm in the bullpen, it will only strengthen that part of the team.

But as Bush told McCaffrey, the Red Sox haven’t decided how they will use Sale yet.

“If we feel like we’re in a good spot to fully stretch him out to start, then we’ll make sure he gets a full rehab progression and comes back as a starter,” Bush said. “I don’t think either one (starting or relieving) is right or wrong. We haven’t talked deeply enough to really look at it yet but it depends on how he’s doing and how his body is responding and also what the rest of our pitching staff can withstand.”

Along with Sale, a couple other Red Sox pitchers continue to progress with their rehab from injuries.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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