Red Sox’ Chris Sale punches out 9 over 3 2/3 innings in second rehab start for Double-A Portland; left-hander in line to start for Triple-A Worcester on July 31

Red Sox ace Chris Sale completed his third rehab start and his second for Double-A Portland at a sold-out Hadlock Field on Sunday afternoon.

Matched up against the Harrisburg Senators — the same team he faced on Tuesday — Sale yielded two earned runs on six hits, no walks, and one hit batsman to go along with nine strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work for the Sea Dogs.

The veteran left-hander was slated to pitch four or five frames depending on his pitch count, but a laborious third inning that required 28 pitches ultimately cut his day short.

After maneuvering his way around a two-out double in an otherwise clean first inning and striking out the side while stranding a runner in the second, Sale ran into a bit of trouble in the top half of the third.

There, he served up a leadoff home run to the Senators’ No. 9 hitter in Osvaldo Duarte before giving up a double and bunt single. Two straight punchouts brought the lefty to within one out of escaping the jam, but he plunked a batter to load the bases.

With two outs and the bases full in the third, Sale fanned Jackson Cluff on a swing-inducing slider to get out of the inning and then recorded the first two outs of the fourth before a two-out double marked the unofficial end of his outing.

In relief of Sale, Sea Dogs reliever Dominic LaBrutto allowed the lone runner he inherited to score on an RBI single, thus officially closing the book on Sale’s afternoon.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 64 (46 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler wound up retiring 11 of the 18 hitters he faced, as he hovered around 94-95 mph with his four-seam fastball and topped out at 96 mph with it while mixing in his slider and changeup as well.

For Sale, Sunday’s performance marked yet another milestone on his road back from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent nearly 16 months ago on March 30, 2020 — his 31st birthday.

In the time since undergoing that procedure to repair his UCL last spring, the 6-foot-6 southpaw has now made three rehab starts between the Florida Complex League Red Sox and Sea Dogs dating back to July 15. He has seen his pitch count rise from 39 to 49 to 64 in each of those outings.

Assuming he wakes up without issue Monday morning, Sale will be in line to make his next rehab start for Triple-A Worcester next Saturday, July 31, as the WooSox will be taking on the Buffalo Bisons at Polar Park.

There is a slight chance that could be Sale’s last minor-league start before he re-joins Boston’s major-league rotation, though Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush recently told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier that the club wants the seven-time All-Star to be at a point where he contribute five to six innings on 80 or so pitches every five days prior to him being activated off the injured list.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Chris Sale set to make another rehab start for Double-A Portland on Sunday

Red Sox ace Chris Sale woke up Wednesday morning without issue and is in line to make his next rehab start this weekend, manager Alex Cora said Wednesday afternoon.

Sale, who is on the road back from Tommy John surgery, dominated in his rehab outing for Double-A Portland Tuesday night, striking out six and walking just one over 3 2/3 scoreless, no-hit innings against the Harrisburg Senators in front of a sold-out crowd at Hadlock Field.

It was Sale’s second rehab start of the month and his first in front of thousands of fans in nearly two years.

Of the 49 pitches the veteran left-hander threw on Tuesday, 34 went for strikes. He retired 10 of the 12 hitters he faced and topped out at 97-98 mph with his vaunted four-seam fastball while also mixing in his swing-inducing slider.

“He was a little bit off mechanics-wise early on,” Cora said of Sale prior to Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays in Buffalo. “That’s part of the progression. Now he’s pitching in front of fans. Obviously the competition is a little better. But he settled down and he was able to repeat his delivery. His slider was really good. The fastball obviously was up velocity-wise. Everybody is very happy with the way the outing went. Warming up, he was excited. He was a little bit off. But little by little, he was able to repeat it and he was great.”

This latest milestone for Sale comes nearly 17 months after he initially underwent Tommy John surgery on March 30, 2020 — his 31st birthday.

Since that time, the 32-year-old hurler has reached the point where he can now face live hitters in a competitive environment on a regular schedule.

After completing his start in Portland on Tuesday, Sale was to work out with the Sea Dogs on Wednesday and is now slated to start for them once again on regular rest in Sunday’s series finale against the Senators (July 25).

Though it is not yet clear when Sale could potentially make his return to the Red Sox’ starting rotation, one thing is for certain: the day in which the seven-time All-Star takes a big-league mound again is only getting closer and closer.

“Everybody’s excited with what we saw yesterday. I’m happier with the way he reacted today,” said Cora. “Hopefully, we keep progressing the way it should be and he’ll join us whenever he’s ready.”

(Picture of Chris Sale: Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Chris Sale dominates with 6 strikeouts over 3 2/3 scoreless, no-hit innings in rehab start for Double-A Portland

Red Sox ace Chris Sale took yet another positive step in the right direction in his road back from Tommy John surgery on Tuesday night.

Five days after a successful outing for the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox in Sarasota, Fla., Sale was at it again, this time suiting up for Double-A Portland in front of a sold-out crowd at Hadlock Field.

Over 3 2/3 innings of work against the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals affiliate), the veteran left-hander did not allow a single run or hit while waking just one batter and striking out six for the Sea Dogs.

Coming into the night, Sale was going to be capped at three or four innings depending on how many pitches he would need. His day ended with a five-pitch strikeout of Aldrem Corredor for the second out of the fourth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 49 (34 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler wound up retiring 10 of the 12 batters he faced, as he promptly picked off the runner he had walked — Gage Canning — in the top half of the first before Canning reached base once again three innings later on a fielding error.

Besides that, Sale, on all accounts, was nearly perfect in the process of reaching 97-98 mph with his vaunted four-seam fastball, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Tuesday’s performance marks another important milestone for Sale as he continues to work his way back from Tommy John, which he underwent nearly 16 months ago — on his 31st birthday (March 30, 2020), no less — after experiencing inflammation in his throwing elbow during the latter half of the 2019 season.

In the time since undergoing that procedure on his elbow last spring, the 6-foot-6 southpaw has now reached a point where he has been pitching every five days and has made two rehab starts between the FCL Red Sox and Sea Dogs.

Assuming he wakes up on Wednesday morning with no ill effects from his latest outing, Sale, a seven-time All-Star, could be in line to make his next start on July 25 if he remains on the schedule he has been on.

Since the Triple-A Worcester Red Sox will be on the road and the Sea Dogs will still be at home, it seems likely that Sale will once again toe the rubber at Hadlock Field for this coming Sunday’s matchup against the Senators.

In the meantime, Sale told reporters (including Cotillo) Tuesday night that he plans on working out in Portland on Wednesday, but the Red Sox have yet to give him instructions for any next steps beyond that.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Chris Sale strikes out 5 over 3 scoreless innings in first start of rehab assignment

Red Sox ace Chris Sale began his highly-anticipated rehab assignment on Thursday afternoon, and it’s safe to say things got off to a positive start.

Starting for the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox in their contest against the FCL Orioles Orange team at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Sale was scheduled to throw two innings, but wound up going three instead.

Over those three frames, the veteran left-hander kept the Orioles off the scoreboard while scattering just four hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts on the day.

After working his way around a leadoff single in an otherwise perfect first inning, Sale put himself in a bit of a jam in the bottom of the second, as he fanned the first batter of the inning before putting two straight Orioles on on back-to-back singles.

Faced with runners on the corners and two outs still to get, the 32-year-old dialed it up and punched out both Ricardo Castro and Luis Sena in consecutive order to get out of the inning.

In the third inning, Sale again allowed another runner to reach base on a one-out double, but got Moises Ramirez to ground out and followed that up by striking out the last man he faced — Isaac Bellony — on three pitches to end his outing on an encouraging note.

Of the 13 Orioles who came to the plate against him on Thursday, Sale induced two groundouts and one fly out in addition to the five punchouts. He finished with a final pitch count of 39.

Per SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall, Sale relied on his fastball, slider, and changeup over the course of his three innings pitched. The fiery southpaw topped out at 94 mph with his heater, hovered around 78-79 mph with his slider, and sat between 85-87 mph with his changeup.

Cundall also noted that Sale’s feel for his secondary pitches improved as he threw them more and that the majority of the contact he gave up was weak.

Sale, as you may recall, is on the road back from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent on March 30, 2020 — his 31st birthday — after experiencing inflammation in his throwing elbow throughout the latter half of the 2019 season.

The seven-time All-Star last appeared in a major-league game on August 13, 2019, when he struck out 12 over 6 2/3 innings against the Indians at Progressive Field.

In working his way back from Tommy John, Sale has now reached the point where he can face live hitters, as he has done on a frequent basis since late June.

Under the pretext that he wakes up Friday morning without feeling any sort of pain or discomfort in his left elbow, Sale could be in line to make his second rehab start early next week seeing how he has been pitching every five days.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora had previously said that the club would like to keep Sale close to Boston while he rehabs so that he has easy access to the team’s medical staff. With that condition in mind, it appears likely that Sale’s next outing will come with Double-A Portland, per Cora.

The Sea Dogs open up a 12-game homestand at Hadlock Field beginning on Tuesday, July 20, so that should be the date for Sale’s next rehab start if he continues to pitch on four days rest. He probably would see his workload increase to four innings as well.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox injuries: Christian Arroyo (knee contusion) could rejoin team in Anaheim, Kevin Plawecki (hamstring strain) ‘feeling better,’ Alex Cora says

Red Sox infielder Christian Arroyo was sent out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Thursday and went 0-for-1 with a strikeout in Game 2 of a rain-shortened doubleheader while starting at designated hitter against Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees affiliate) at Polar Park.

Arroyo was also slated to start at second base and bat out of the two-hole for the WooSox on Friday night, but that game wound up getting rained out due to wet conditions in the Worcester-area.

The 26-year-old has been held out of action since he sustained a right shin bone bruise after colliding with center fielder Enrique Hernandez in Kansas City on June 20.

Later placed on the 10-day injured list due to a right knee contusion on June 24, Arroyo’s stint on the IL was backdated to June 21, meaning he could have been activated as soon as Thursday.

With that being said, though, it would appear that the Red Sox would like Arroyo to get more at-bats before he is cleared to rejoin the big-league club. Just ask manager Alex Cora.

“He’ll be there tonight, most likely tomorrow,” Cora said of Arroyo prior to Friday’s contest against the Athletics in Oakland. “I think the weather over there is not great, I guess, right? We’ll make a decision tomorrow. But most likely, he’ll be there Monday with us if everything goes accordingly.”

The Red Sox are in Oakland for a three-game weekend series against the A’s that concludes Sunday afternoon. They will then travel south to take on the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim in another three-game set that begins on Monday and wraps up on Wednesday.

Kevin Plawecki, meanwhile, is with the Sox in the Bay Area and is traveling with the team despite currently being on the 10-day injured list like Arroyo.

The 30-year-old catcher was originally placed on the IL with a left hamstring strain on June 22, which came as a result of him chasing down an errant throw in that same series against the Royals Arroyo got hurt in.

Cora had said that Plawecki suffered a setback in his recovery earlier this week, but his outlook regarding the veteran backstop seemed more optimistic as of Friday afternoon.

“He’s feeling better. Not quite there yet,” said Cora. “I feel like having him here — if something happens and he feels OK, then we can plug him into the roster, right? With all the traveling and how far we are from the East Coast, it would become difficult. He feels like he’s making progress. He’s catching bullpens, he caught (Chris) Sale the other day. So, he’s getting closer.”

Unlike Arroyo, Boston does not feel as though Plawecki would require a rehab assignment since he only plays once every six or seven days and has not lost much in terms of his timing at the plate.

“We’ll play it by year,” Cora said. “We’ll see how the rest of the week goes and we’ll make decisions from there.”

While Arroyo and Plawecki have been sidelined with their respective injuries, the Red Sox have had infielder/outfielder Michael Chavis and catching prospect Connor Wong up in their place.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate infielder Christian Arroyo from 10-day injured list

Before opening up a two-game interleague series against the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park Tuesday night, the Red Sox returned infielder Christian Arroyo from his rehab assignment and activated him from the 10-day injured list, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.

Arroyo, who is not in Boston’s starting lineup for Tuesday’s contest against Atlanta, has been held out of action for nearly three weeks after sustaining a left hand contusion against the Tigers back on May 5.

In the sixth inning of that game, the soon-to-be 26-year-old was drilled in the left hand for the second time in less than two weeks by a 92 mph sinker from Tigers starter Casey Mize and was forced to exit an inning later as a result of the discomfort he was experiencing.

X-rays on Arroyo’s hand came back negative, and he was even used as a pinch-runner the following day. But difficulty in swinging a bat ultimately led to him being placed on the IL on May 9 (retroactive to May 7).

While it may have taken a little longer than originally anticipated, Arroyo did spend this past weekend on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester, where he went 1-for-10 with a double, one run scored, two RBI, one walk and four strikeouts in three games for the WooSox against the Buffalo Bisons at Polar Park.

Prior to being shelved earlier this month, the right-handed hitter was slashing .275/.333/.377 with seven doubles, five RBI, nine runs scored, one stolen base, three walks, and 18 strikeouts through his first 23 big-league games of the season while primarily playing second base.

The Red Sox were able to activate Arroyo from the injured list on Tuesday without making a corresponding roster move since they optioned infielder/outfielder Michael Chavis to Worcester following Sunday’s 6-2 loss to the Phillies.

Chavis went 9-for-33 (.273) at the plate with one home run, four doubles, two RBI, six runs scored, zero walks, and 13 strikeouts over 10 games (seven starts) in his second stint of the season with Boston. The 25-year-old was initially recalled from the WooSox on May 7, when utility man Enrique Hernandez was placed on the IL due to a right hamstring strain.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox option Michael Chavis to Triple-A Worcester; Christian Arroyo (left hand contusion) expected to be activated from injured list Tuesday

Following Sunday’s 6-2 loss at the hands of the Phillies, the Red Sox optioned infielder/outfielder Michael Chavis to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Monday afternoon.

Chavis was originally recalled from the WooSox back on May 7, when utility man Enrique Hernandez was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a right hamstring strain.

In his second stint with Boston this season, the 25-year-old went 9-for-33 (.273) at the plate with one home run, four doubles, two RBI, six runs scored, zero walks, and 13 strikeouts over 10 games (seven starts) primarily at first and second base.

At the time he was called up from Worcester earlier this month, Chavis had collected one hit (a double) through his first eight trips to the plate and two games in a WooSox uniform.

Because the Red Sox optioned Chavis without making an immediate, corresponding roster move, the expectation seems to be that fellow infielder Christian Arroyo — who has been on the IL with a left hand contusion since May 9 — will be activated ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Braves at Fenway Park.

Arroyo spent the weekend on a rehab assignment with Worcester, where he went 1-for-10 with a double, one run scored, two RBI, one walk and four strikeouts in three games against the Buffalo Bisons at Polar Park.

Prior to landing on the injured list after taking yet another pitch off his left hand, the soon-to-be 26-year-old was slashing .275/.333/.377 with seven doubles, five RBI, nine runs scored, one stolen base, three walks, and 18 strikeouts over his first 23 big-league games of the 2021 season.

(Picture of Michael Chavis: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Red Sox option Jonathan Araúz to Triple-A Worcester; Kiké Hernández (right hamstring strain) expected to be activated from injured list Tuesday

The Red Sox optioned infielder Jonathan Arauz to Triple-A Worcester following Sunday’s 6-5 loss to the Angels, the team announced Monday afternoon.

Arauz, 22, was originally recalled from the WooSox back on May 9, when fellow infielder Christian Arroyo was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a left hand contusion.

In four games in his first major-league stint with Boston this season, the switch-hitter went 2-for-8 with two runs scored, one RBI, two walks, and three strikeouts while primarily playing shortstop.

At the time he was called up from Worcester, Arauz was batting .200 (3-for-15) with one RBI over his first five games with the WooSox.

Because the Red Sox optioned Arauz without making a corresponding roster move, the expectation is that utility man Kiké Hernández — who has been on the IL with a right hamstring strain since May 7 — will be activated ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Dunedin.

Hernandez spent the weekend on a rehab assignment with Worcester, where he went 2-for-6 with two home runs (including a grand slam), five RBI, and three runs scored in two games against the Syracuse Mets at Polar Park.

(Picture of Jonathan Arauz: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Kiké Hernández rehab assignment: Red Sox utility man crushes grand slam as part of two-homer day for Triple-A Worcester

In the second game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Sunday afternoon, Red Sox utility man Kiké Hernández enjoyed a fine day at the plate against the Syracuse Mets at Polar Park.

Batting out of the leadoff spot while starting in center field, Hernandez went 2-for-4 with two home runs — including a grand slam — and five RBI before his day came to an end after seven innings.

After grounding out to second base in his first at-bat against Mets starter Jesus Reyes, Hernandez took full advantage of the opportunity he was given in the second inning.

With two outs and the bases full, the 29-year-old swung at the first pitch he saw from Reyes and crushed it approximately 457 feet over everything in left-center field.

Not only did Hernandez’s slam give his side a 5-0 lead, it was also the first grand slam in WooSox history.

Fast forward to the seventh, and Hernandez struck again when matched up against Mets reliever A.J. Schugel, this time depositing a solo shot to left-center to put the WooSox up 7-3 in what would turn out to be a 7-4 victory on Sunday.

In addition to contributing offensively, Hernandez also showed off his arm strength in the fifth inning when he snuffed out Wilfredo Tovar at third base after the Mets infielder unsuccessfully tried to turn a two-out double into a triple.

Through two games with Worcester now, the right-handed hitter is 2-for-6 with those two home runs, five RBI, and three runs scored. He got two at-bats as the WooSox’ designated hitter on Saturday and — as previously mentioned — played seven innings of center field on Sunday.

Hernandez has been on the injured list since last Friday after suffering a right hamstring strain against the Tigers on May 6, meaning he would be eligible to come off the IL when the Red Sox open a three-game series against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. on Tuesday.

That being said, Sox manager Alex Cora relayed earlier Sunday that no decision has been made in regards to when Hernandez could be activated.

“I just saw Chaim [Bloom] and [head trainer] Brad [Pearson],” Cora said following his team’s 6-5 loss to the Angels. “So we’re waiting for him to get here, I guess, and see how he feels. But, I guess, he feels good at the plate for what they said. So we’ll wait for him to get here and then go from there.”

If all goes well, it seems likely that Hernandez will be activated before Tuesday’s series opener against Toronto, while one of Jonathan Arauz or Michael Chavis would be sent back down to Worcester. We will have to wait and see on that.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox injuries: Kiké Hernández set to rehab with WooSox this weekend; Christian Arroyo ‘not on track’ to begin rehab assignment yet

As planned, Red Sox utilityman Kiké Hernández will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester this weekend, Sox manager Alex Cora said before Friday’s game against the Angels at Fenway Park.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the plan is for Hernandez to serve as the WooSox’ designated hitter on Saturday and play center field on Sunday in the final two games of the team’s series against the Syracuse Mets at Polar Park.

Hernandez, who was placed on the injured list last Friday due to a right hamstring strain, would then be eligible to come off the IL on Tuesday, when the Sox open a three-game series against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla.

Christian Arroyo, meanwhile, had been on track to began his rehab assignment in Worcester right around the same time as Hernandez, but that no longer appears to be the case.

The second baseman has been sidelined with a left hand contusion since last week and was placed on the 10-day injured list on Sunday, meaning the earliest he could be activated was this coming Wednesday.

According to Cora, though, Arroyo is off track with where Hernandez is at in his rehab, so it would seem as though he will not be playing in Worcester this weekend.

“The goal is to have Enrique after his two rehab games,” Cora said Friday afternoon. “He’s playing tomorrow and Sunday. Hopefully he can be back with us on Tuesday. Arroyo, it’s not that he’s behind, but he’s actually doing soft toss today, [batting practice] tomorrow. So, he’s not on track with Kiké.”

Arroyo has been drilled by a pitch in the left hand on two separate occasions this season. The first of which came against the Mariners on April 25; the second of which came against the Tigers on May 6.

While he was able to play defense and run the bases after getting plunked a second time, the 25-year-old’s inability to swing a bat pain-free ultimately led to him being placed on the IL.

It is also worth mentioning that back in 2017, when he was a member of the Giants organization, Arroyo missed the final two months of the minor-league season that year after sustaining a fractured left hand on a hit-by-pitch.

With that in mind, it goes without saying that the Red Sox are presumably taking things slowly with Arroyo’s rehab to ensure that he can come back with full strength and dexterity in his left hand.

“He did soft toss only [Thursday]. It’s part of the progression,” Cora said. “He was OK yesterday. So they felt like today should be soft toss only. Tomorrow, if everything goes well, he’ll hit live BP. And then, we’ll go from there. But right now, he’s not on pace to play tomorrow or Sunday with Triple-A.”

While Hernandez and Arroyo have been shelved with their respective injuries, infielders Michael Chavis and Jonathan Arauz have been up with the Red Sox in their place.

The expectation seems to be that those two would be sent back down to Worcester once Hernandez and Arroyo are ready to be activated.

Assuming Hernandez is back before Arroyo, though, one would have to think Arauz would be optioned before Chavis. We will have to wait and see on that.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)