BOSTON — Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale was back to having fun playing baseball again.

Then came Thursday night, when he was hit with a “gut punch.”

The Red Sox placed Sale on the 15-day injured list on Friday with what the team is describing as “shoulder inflammation.” The move comes just one day after the 35-year-old was removed in the fourth inning of a win over the Cincinnati Reds, with a sharp decrease in velocity preceding two mound visits from Boston manager Alex Cora and a Red Sox trainer. The second would spell doom from Sale, who was yanked in an abundance of caution from Cora.

The IL visit is Sale’s fourth since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020. Boston’s ace discussed his disappointment after the move was made, but had a positive update in regards to his future status.

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“We’re obviously optimistic,” Sale said Friday. “This isn’t anything that’s going to require a procedure, I don’t think. It’s just one of those things that’s going to take time. … It’s not good talking about it, that’s for sure.”

“… It sucks. I was getting used to talking about good stuff. It’s been a rocky road and I felt like I was over the hump. I was back to being myself, then something like this happens and it’s deflating. It’s just kind of a gut punch. … I gotta do my due diligence. I gotta get back to work. If there’s anything I can prove it’s that you’re not going to keep me down. You knock me down, I get back up. It’s obviously not where I want to be, but at least I’ll never give up. I’ve been through the (expletive) and been back. I’m in the (expletive) again and I’ll be back. That’s all I know.”

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The Red Sox still don’t have all of the information they’ll need on Sale, who expects to know more by the next week.

“I wanted to at least come out here today and talk to (the media) to give a little bit of information,” Sale said. “Unfortunately, that’s all I have is a little bit of information. I would say sometime next week, five, six, seven days. I talked with the doctors and they said, ‘At least within the next week we’ll know more.’ You guys know me, as soon as I find something out I’ll be sitting here giving you what you need to know.”

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In a corresponding move, Boston activated pitcher Corey Kluber from the paternity list.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images