Red Sox: Chris Sale to avoid Tommy John but will likely miss rest of 2019
The Boston Red Sox can breathe a sigh of relief as their star pitcher was given the news that Tommy John surgery wouldn’t be in his immediate future.
When news broke on Saturday afternoon that Chris Sale would be heading to the Injured List it’s safe to say that all of Red Sox Nation held their breath. Sale was to meet with famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews today for a consultation on his inflamed left elbow. The news broke just days after Sale went 6.1IP while striking out 12 and giving up 5 runs.
Jeff Passan of ESPN reported this afternoon that Sale is “expected to avoid surgery.” This comes as the best news possible for the Red Sox as they fight for their postseason hopes and can’t afford to lose Sale for any amount of time. With this latest stint on the IL and the injury woes from last year, I can’t imagine we’ll be seeing The Conductor flirting with 100 pitches anymore this season.
"Sale, who was placed on the 10-day injured list Saturday, flew to meet with Andrews on Monday in Florida, sources said. Sale is in the midst of the worst season of his 10-year career after signing a contract extension this spring that begins in 2020 and pays him $145 million over five years."
We all know this hasn’t been the best season for Sale and this only adds another chapter to the story. But today’s news at least gives Sox Nation a small glimmer of positivity in an otherwise bleak year.
As the 2019 year has progressed and Chris didn’t look like his old self the questions began to arise on whether he was healthy. There was also doubt in Alex Cora’s spring training plan to hold off his starting rotation until the final two weeks.
In an update to Passan’s earlier report, President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski spoke about the news today and made it clear that Sale isn’t out of the woods just yet.
"“Sale was evaluated by Dr. James Andrews this morning in Pensacola, Fla.,” said president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in a statement. “Dr. Andrews confirmed that Sale has inflammation in his left elbow and treated it with a platelet-rich plasma injection. Dr. Andrews also recommended a period of shutdown from throwing. Sale will be re-evaluated in six weeks by Dr. Andrews.”"
That timeline is instantly concerning as there are six weeks left in the season, meaning that the Red Sox won’t likely be seeing Sale again until the 11th hour. Boston is sitting 6.5 games back in the wild card and can’t afford any more missteps along the way. With Sale now being shut down for what seems to be the rest of the season, the margin for error is damn near zero.
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It’s hard to fully encapsulate today’s news as it really is two sides of the same coin. We got the positivity that Sale will avoid Tommy John but then the negative that we likely won’t see him again in 2019. In a season where the negatives have far outweighed the positives, this is another tough pill to swallow. The way I look at it is that if this means we should be seeing a healthy Chris Sale next season then it may all be worth it.
Between the injuries that hampered the second half of 2018 and how this 2019 campaign has gone, it’s hard to be positive about the extension the Red Sox gave Sale this winter. Though his numbers were strong last year there was no need to rush into re-signing the lefty, especially not to a 5-year/$145M deal. The length and money don’t bother me but the timing of the deal always felt rushed.
This surely won’t be a season that Chris Sale or the Red Sox will want to remember. But if Boston can make the final push to October then in a perfect world Sale should be ready to go at the perfect time. It’s clear that the Red Sox need him in order to succeed but they need him at his most healthy in order to win.