Red Sox’s Chris Sale Not Bothered With Opening Day Decision

'There were guys in very similar situations as me'


Mar 13, 2023

Just ahead of Opening Day, the Boston Red Sox addressed the elephant in the room and announced that Chris Sale would not take the mound on March 30.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora unveiled the decision to reporters at spring training on Sunday but didn’t confirm who would get the nod instead. This gave Sale a fourth consecutive Opening Day miss with the Red Sox, but the southpaw veteran isn’t worried.

Sale, who has missed the majority of the last two seasons overcoming a roller-coaster of stints on the injured list, understands the organization’s perspective.

“Opening Day is always a very special day,” Sale said, according to Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic. “It’s like Christmas for baseball players, but the last few I’ve been a part of, I wasn’t playing, so it was like showing up on Christmas morning with no presents. It’s still Christmas, but you’re not doing a whole lot. I think (Cora) didn’t want me to be over-amped for it and I think he truly wants me to be able to soak in Opening Day, enjoy it, appreciate it for what it is and not have to worry about getting ready for a start.”

The 33-year-old battled through Tommy John surgery, a broken pinky finger suffered at Yankee Stadium and a freak bike accident all within the last two years alone. Sale only managed to make two starts in 2022, pitching to a 3.18 ERA over the course of 5 2/3 innings.

This obviously left Cora and Boston with a difficult decision, needing Sale for the upcoming campaign, fresh off the team’s dead-last finish in the American League East.

“Who am I to come in here and demand anything at this point?” Sale said. “I mean, seriously. I could have easily gotten a phone call this offseason saying, ‘Hey, we’re done with you,’ because it’s happened. You look at the last few years, the contracts and everything, there were guys in very similar situations as me that were cut loose. And (the Red Sox) want me to play for them still, so I appreciate that.”

When Sale began his Red Sox tenure, the seven-time All-Star began mowing down batters left and right, striking out a career-best 309 hitters during his first year in Boston in 2017. However, in the last three years, the pendulum hasn’t swung in Sale’s favor. In 2021, Sale’s last full season, he pitched to a 4.40 ERA, which marked a career-high.

2023 will be Sale’s sixth year in Boston and his fifth since signing a $145 million extension in 2019.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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