You can’t keep a good man down. For his 31st birthday, Chris Sale went out and got himself Tommy John surgery. Now almost fifteen months later, he is back in the bullpen at Fenway and bleeding for a chance to get back on the mound.
“If it were up to me I’d be starting tomorrow,” Sale told reporters yesterday after throwing 25 pitches in Fenway’s bullpen.
Chris Sale: "If it were up to me, I'd be starting tomorrow." pic.twitter.com/NoRWDSZcoZ — Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) June 8, 2021
After lighting up the eyes of Red Sox nation on Monday tossing it around in the outfield, under the watchful eyes of Sox Manager Alex Cora, Sale threw publicly for the first time off a mound on Tuesday.
Cora said after the session, “There’s a good chance he might (throw to hitters). Someone will stand there and he will throw.” It appears that Sale was working on his fastball-changeup and slider during the session.
Chris Sale sighting 👀 (via @NESN) pic.twitter.com/8XPSNOUtZH — B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) June 7, 2021
But as confident as he is in his return to the active roster, Sale is still a realist and knows that he’s living in the world of rehabilitation. He knows this is just one more step and there are many more to take before he moves from watching games from the dugout to taking the mound. Adding, “I’m focused on my next day, and getting off the mound and whatever the next step is, taking that.”
Keep the prospects home
I wrote two weeks ago that it was time to start believing in this Red Sox squad and questioned whether or not GM Chaim Bloom would spend at the deadline to bolster the starting rotation. But with Sale feeling and talking the way he is, the only move Bloom may have to make is clearing a roster spot for the $145 million man.
Boogeyman's coming pic.twitter.com/b7Oy4iRCWK — Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) June 7, 2021
When asked by reporters if he was confident he would contribute to the team this season, Sale without hesitation said, “One hundred percent, unless something crazy happens. I’ll be there soon enough.” Not to jinx himself, Sale was knocking on the wooden table he was seated behind. God, I love ballplayers.
Tapping the Breaks
While the past two days have given the people of Boston a reason to smile. Remember you still may not see Sale on this roster until July or even August. It depends on how well he continues to progress and how the Red Sox choose to continue his rehab.
Will he make starts in Worcester? Will he come out of the big league pen to ramp up for the stretch run? No one knows right now. It’s a game of wait-and-see.