Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters that Chris Sale will not be on the mound for Opening Day, but he did hint at who might toe the rubber for Boston on March 30.
“No, he’s not,” Cora said Sunday when asked if Sale will start Game 1 of 162 per WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “You can write that one down. He’s not. He knows that already.”
Cora said he will announce his Opening Day starter in the next few days. The Red Sox manager shared he had the conversation with Sale about a month and a half ago, which he said the highly-competitive left-hander took well.
“From my end, I decided that he’s not,” Cora told reporters. “I want him to enjoy Thursday (Opening Day) as a regular baseball player. Just the whole Opening Day thing. Whenever he pitches in the rotation, he’ll pitch in the rotation. But I decided that like a month and a half ago and we had the conversation.”
Red Sox newcomer Corey Kluber has been pitching before Sale during Grapefruit League play. There’s been speculation that the right-hander could be in line for that start should everything in spring training remain on the same schedule.
“There’s a good chance,” Cora responded when asked about the potential of Kluber getting the ball Opening Day.
Cora nevertheless remains optimistic about Sale, who has pitched twice in Fort Meyers this year. Sale struck out five and allowed one hit with zero walks in his three scoreless innings against the Twins on Saturday.
Sale was not on Boston’s Opening Day roster the last three seasons due to a myriad of injuries. He started two games in 2022 because of a stress fracture in his ribs, a pinkie fracture and a broken right wrist.