How Alex Cora Reacted To Chris Sale’s Spring Training Outing

Sale pitched two innings Monday


Mar 6, 2023

Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale lit up the radar gun immediately during his first start of spring training against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.

It was impressive from the vantage point of Red Sox manager Alex Cora, but also a little worrisome, too.

“You see the stuff. It’s still Chris Sale,” Cora told reporters following Boston’s 7-1 win at JetBlue Park. “I saw 95 (mph) from the get-go. I don’t like that sometimes. It’s too soon for him to do that. But I understand.”

Cora’s trepidation comes from the litany of injuries Sale has suffered in recent years, which has limited the lanky left-hander to just 11 appearances and 49 1/3 innings on the mound over the last three seasons. The last time Sale, who missed all of the 2020 campaign due to Tommy John surgery, toed the rubber against an opponent, he got hit by a comebacker and needed surgery on his pinky finger.

So with Sale feeling healthy, getting back on the hill — even if it was just an exhibition game — was another step in the right direction for the soon-to-be 34-year-old.

“He was excited the whole day for obvious reasons,” Cora said. “Just to be healthy and throwing the ball and going through his progression, I know that means a lot. It’s only two innings. Like I said, could give up seven (runs). It didn’t matter.”

It wasn’t the cleanest two innings from Sale as he had a couple of hiccups. He was charged with a pitch clock violation and didn’t get over to first base fast enough on a potential double play.

But those were minor infractions as Sale allowed no runs and no walks while surrendering just two hits and striking out two.

“Excellent,” Cora said about how he thought Sale’s outing went. “We got the pitch clock thing out of the way already. We didn’t cover first on another one. So, spring training for everybody, right? Good pitches, good changeup, good fastball. Velo was up a little. … The usual. Go through your progression and get ready for the next one.”

Cora said Sale is in line to make his next spring training start Saturday. The seven-time All-Star is plenty motivated to return to form this upcoming season, but Cora is well aware that making it through an entire season has to be part of the plan for Sale.

“We got to take care of him. That’s the thing,” Cora said. “If all of a sudden velocity goes up, well we got to create balance because we’re here for a long run. He’s here for the long run. He said it, he wants to earn quote-unquote his money. And for that, we’re keeping him healthy.”

Thumbnail photo via Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale
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