Red Sox ace Chris Sale threw at Fenway Park on Friday morning ahead of Boston’s home opener against the Minnesota Twins. When speaking with reporters afterwards, the left-hander estimated it was the fifth time he has thrown in the last week.
Prior to that, Sale had been shut down for an extended period of time after suffering a stress fracture in his right rib cage in late February. Since he has been able to get back to throwing, the 33-year-old is in better spirits than he was seven weeks ago.
“We’re in a good spot, obviously,” Sale said. “The worst part of it is time. The build back up is going to take a little bit of time just because I’ve got to get some innings and get my arm stretched out. We’re on the right path.”
The Red Sox placed Sale on the 60-day injured list before the regular season started, meaning he would not be eligible to pitch in a major-league game until June 6 at the earliest.
“The initial blow of this sucked but I’ve got to get over it and start getting back to what I do,” said Sale. “And that’s having fun, getting work in, and being a good teammate.”
Sale made the trip from Fort Myers to Boston to be with his teammates for Opening Day at Fenway Park. He is now pain-free, but understands the importance of exhibiting patience during this recovery period.
“For instance, I went out there and threw today and I feel like I could throw in a game,” Sale said. “But that doesn’t really make a lot of sense. That’s just me being a little overconfident or just being myself, honestly. I like playing. But I understand with this comes a certain level of work that has to be done before. You can’t just go run a couple of sprints and then be like, alright, we have to go run a marathon. I’ve got to get some practice in, I’ve got to get stretched out.”
Sale said he does not yet know when he will begin throwing bullpen sessions. And while the lanky lefty is still a ways away from returning to the mound with the Red Sox, he is undoubtedly excited to be back in Boston for now.
“I love this. I love playing baseball. I love being a member of a team,” said Sale. “It’s something that we’re fighting together for. These guys give me life, man. I’ve got more pep in my step today than I would have if I was down at JetBlue doing that. no offense to the guys down there. Love you guys. It’s just different. We have something going on here. It’s fun, talking trash, catching up with everybody, having some fun, and we’re at Fenway Park. Beautiful day out there. I love being around these guys. They help me.”
(Picture of Chris Sale: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)