Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale made the second start of his rehab assignment in the rookie-level Florida Complex League on Saturday morning.
After throwing just one inning in his first rehab outing on Monday, Sale pitched deeper into his start this time around. Matched up against the Twins’ FCL affiliate at JetBlue Park, the veteran southpaw scattered three hits and no walks to go along with six strikeouts over 2 2/3 scoreless innings of work. He also hit one of the 12 batters he faced.
According to MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, Sale sat between 92-96 mph with his fastball on Saturday while mixing in a slider in the 91-94 mph range and a changeup in the 85-87 mph range.
Sale will likely need to make two more rehab starts in order to get stretched out to five innings. When speaking with reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham) prior to Saturday’s game against the Guardians, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that Sale will throw a bullpen session in Fort Myers and will then make his next start for Double-A Portland.
That will presumably come on Thursday, as Sale will be able to pitch on regular rest while the Sea Dogs host the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Hadlock Field. The 33-year-old could then make his fourth rehab start for Triple-A Worcester the following week as the WooSox will be hosting the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at Polar Park.
So, in all likelihood, Sale could very well make his 2022 debut for the Red Sox during their penultimate series before the All-Star break against the Rays at Tropicana Field from July 11-14.
There are still a number of hurdles to clear, but Sale’s return would certainly be a welcomed one. The seven-time All-Star began the season on the 60-day injured list due to a right rib stress fracture he sustained in late February. His recovery was then slowed down in May because of a non-baseball health concern related to his family’s medical history.
(Picture of Chris Sale: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)