Alex Cora wants to make sure the fans at Polar Park get their money’s worth.
That was the joking implication the Boston Red Sox manager made Monday when asked whether pitcher Chris Sale, who is scheduled to make a rehab start Wednesday for Triple-A Worcester, was a candidate to pitch for the major league club that same day.
Cora dismissed the possibility, facetiously explaining how he didn’t want to let down any fans who purchased WooSox tickets hoping to see the left-hander’s start against the Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders.
“We were joking and I said, ‘Man, it’s sold out already,’ ” Cora told reporters, according to MassLive’s Christopher Smith. “We can’t disappoint the people in Worcester.”
The Red Sox don’t have a scheduled starter for Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays as they navigate injuries across their rotation. Michael Wacha, who was scratched from Monday’s start due to a “heavy feeling” in his arm Sunday, would be a candidate for Wednesday’s game, as would top pitching prospect Brayan Bello.
All jokes aside, Sale isn’t an option because he’s not ready, by all accounts. The 33-year-old is expected to make at least one, and possibly two, starts for the WooSox before he’s ready to face MLB hitters. If he made one start in Triple-A on Wednesday, the earliest he could take the mound for Boston would be July 11.
Based on the reaction on Twitter, it was clear some fans didn’t realize Cora was obviously joking.
Lighten up, folks. If anything, Bello’s MLB debut would be as much of a box-office draw as Sale’s arrival, given Boston’s need for fresh arms.