Red Sox ace Chris Sale appears to be on the verge of being sent out on a rehab assignment after another successful simulated game on Saturday.
While the Red Sox were in the process of losing to the Philles, 11-5, on Saturday afternoon, Sale threw two simulated innings in which he faced live hitters at the club’s spring training facility in Fort Myers.
Per Sox manager Alex Cora, reports from head athletic trainer Brad Pearson pertaining to the left-hander’s outing came back positive.
“Everything [was] good. He was good,” Cora said Saturday night. “Brad told me he struck out a lot of people down there. As far as his stuff, he was was really good.”
If Sale, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, wakes up Sunday morning without feeling any sort of discomfort in his throwing elbow, the next step would likely be to send him out on a rehab assignment with one of the Sox’ minor-league affiliates.
“Tomorrow is a big day. He did what he did today,” Cora said of Sale. “Let’s see how he shows up tomorrow. Hopefully, everything is fine. After that, we can map it out.”
The 32-year-old hurler underwent Tommy John surgery on March 30, 2020 — his 31st birthday — after dealing with elbow inflammation during the latter stages of the 2019 season and the early stages of spring training in 2020.
Sale last took a big-league mound on August 13, 2019, when he struck out 12 over 6 2/3 innings against the Indians in Cleveland, so it’s safe to assume that the Sox will ease their way back when it comes to building the seven-time All-Star up to a reasonable five- or six-inning workload.
“He’ll probably go two in the first one,” Cora said. “It’s a lot different than just pitching down there. It’s not the big leagues, but it’s a real game. He’s going to be anxious. He’s going to be excited. The whole day is going to be different. Probably two innings. From there, we’ll see where it takes us.”
Based off his throwing schedule in which he has been pitching every five days, it would appear that Sale would be in line to make his first rehab start on July 15.
Cora has previously said that the Red Sox would like to keep Sale close to Boston while he is rehabbing so the team’s medical staff has easy access to him if needed.
With that in mind, the Triple-A Worcester Red Sox will be playing against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at home at Polar Park from July 13 through July 18, while the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs will have a 12-game homestand at Hadlock Field that begins on July 20 and runs through August 1.
That being said, it seems likely that Sale would make his first rehab outing for the WooSox on July 15 and, if everything goes swimmingly, make his second rehab outing for the Sea Dogs on July 20.
(Picture of Chris Sale: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)