Red Sox’s Chris Sale Enjoying ‘Freeing’ Return To Full Health

'I'm having a really good time doing this'


March 16

It has been quite a while since Chris Sale was available to the Boston Red Sox to start a season.

Sale made Opening Day starts for Boston in 2018 and 2019 but has been sidelined with injuries as the Red Sox opened each season since. In 2020 and 2021, it was Tommy John surgery that kept him from being able to contribute from the jump. In 2022, it was a rib fracture that forced him onto the 60-day injured list during spring training.

In 2023, Sale is finally back to full strength and ready to contribute. That’s why despite not being tabbed as the Red Sox’s starter on Opening Day, he’s still enjoying himself.

“It’s very freeing,” Sale said, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. “I’m having fun. Your start day lands on the off-day and a lot of guys would be like, ‘Arrgh.’

“This is fun for me.”

Red Sox manager Alex Cora decided that Corey Kluber should take the bump when Boston opens its season against the Baltimore Orioles on March 30 at Fenway Park, and the reasons are fairly simple. Kluber has the experience to take on the challenge and Sale is deserving of an opportunity to enjoy how special the day is.

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Instead of starting the season on the mound, Sale is lined up to take the ball just one day later. The soon-to-be 34-year old worked five innings and threw 80 pitches Thursday morning in a simulated game at JetBlue Park. The crowd, according to Abraham, included Cora, team executives, members of the media and Sale’s father, Allen.

“If you ask him, I’m the nastiest guy on the planet,” Sale said.

The seven-time All-Star will likely make two more starts down in Fort Myers, which would put him on track for April 1 on an extra day of rest. When he does take the mound, it will mark the start of something new for Sale.

“I’m learning to have a little bit of fun,” he said. “I’m having a really good time doing this.”

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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