Red Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale spoke with the media on Tuesday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery late last month.
Speaking via a conference call with several reporters, the 31-year-old said that he’s “really happy” with where he’s at right now and he’ll get his cast taken off sometime on Thursday.
From there, Sale said that he will “probably” begin the rehab process at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, but if worst comes to worst in regards to the nationwide COVID-19 pandemic, he could start working out again at his own house in nearby Naples.
“We could have done this six months ago,” Sale said in regards to the procedure. “But I’m okay with that. I didn’t want to jump the gun, I wanted to make sure this was something that needed to be done.”
After being shut down last August due to inflammation in his left elbow, Sale was eventually given the go-ahead to begin throwing again right around Thanksgiving.
Heading into the start of spring training, Sale was completely healthy outside of a bout of pneumonia he dealt with earlier in the year.
“I truly thought I was in the clear,” the hurler said. “I had all the confidence in the world coming into spring training that my arm was going to be as good, if not better, than it was my entire career.”
That turned out not to be the case though, as Sale experienced soreness in his left elbow in early March, shortly after he faced live hitters for the first time since before he was shut down last August.
Later diagnosed with a flexor tendon strain, Sale was prescribed a two-week period of rest and did not begin throwing again until the middle of March.
Even after that period of rest, Sale again experienced discomfort in his left elbow while throwing and that’s ultimately how the decision for the Florida native to undergo Tommy John was reached.
“It was a punch to the gut,” he said. “It was tough to let my teammates down.”
As tough as it may have been, Sale did say that he “sleep[s] easier knowing we did everything we could. We turned over every stone.”
Sale’s rotation-mate Nathan Eovaldi has undergone Tommy John surgery twice in his career. When seeking advice from Eovaldi, Sale was advised to “set little goals” for himself and to not look at the recovery process as a year-long endeavor, but instead focus on two weeks at a time.
“I have a chip on my shoulder,” Sale said. “Well, I guess I have a chip in my elbow, too.”
The typical recovery time for Tommy John surgery is usually 14-15 months, so we probably won’t see Sale on a big league mound again until June 2021 at the earliest.
On a positive note, Sale did say that he throws a “mean” right-handed cutter with a wiffle ball to his sons, so that’s pretty neat.