For the first time in nearly a month, Red Sox ace Chris Sale was back on the mound on Tuesday after being activated from the 10-day disabled list earlier in the afternoon.
Facing off against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first of a three-game series at Fenway Park, the left-hander found himself under duress right away following a leadoff double off the bat of Lourdes Gurriel.
That was followed by two consecutive strikeouts of Devon Travis and Justin Smoak.
Sale did deal with some trouble again though when he hit Kendrys Morales to put runners on first and second with two outs.
Fortunately, the 29-year-old settled down, got Randal Grichuk to pop out to second, and retired the side without surrendering a run.
Now, the plan was for Sale to throw 40 pitches or go two innings deep into this start, whichever came first, per Alex Cora.
But, because of the fact he was put in a tough spot right from the get go, it’s understandable why the Florida native was limited to the one frame of work.
Instead of going back out for the second, Sale headed out to the Red Sox bullpen, threw about 22 pitches in a controlled environment, and called it a night.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 26, 14 of which went for strikes, Sale threw his four-seam fastball 15 times, his slider 10 times, and his changeup just once, which resulted in seven total swings and misses.
He also topped out at 97 MPH with his four-seamer on the very first pitch of the contest.
Although there were some control issues, it was encouraging to see Sale back out there for the first time this month. The rust shouldn’t last too long.
With his ERA dropping down to 1.96 on the season, the southpaw will look to ramp it up in his next time out, which should come against the New York Mets back at Fenway this Sunday.