The Boston Red Sox revealed a timeline for Chris Sale’s next doctor appointment and when he can begin his offseason throwing program.
The progress that Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale has made with his ailing elbow is beginning to gain a bit more clarity and the outlook is surprisingly positive.
Sale’s follow-up appointment with Dr. James Andrews hasn’t been scheduled yet but GM Brian O’Halloran revealed that it will happen next month, reports MassLive’s Christopher Smith.
"“We really anticipate ultimately he’ll have a pretty normal offseason. We expect that he’ll see Dr. Andrews in mid-November and then begin his throwing program shortly thereafter,” said O’Halloran."
Sale was placed on the injured list with left elbow inflammation following an August 13 victory in Cleveland and hasn’t been seen on the mound since. He received a PRP injection and a recommendation from Dr. Andrews to refrain from throwing for six weeks before being re-evaluated.
That was over 10 weeks ago. As time went by without any update regarding Sale’s appointment, Red Sox Nation became increasingly concerned about the status of his health. Was the delay in scheduling the lefty’s appointment a red flag that threatens to jeopardize his availability for next season?
Apparently not, according to O’Halloran. The initial six-week timetable was provided at a point when the Red Sox hadn’t given up on their postseason aspirations. They wanted to give Sale the opportunity to get the green light from Dr. Andrews in time to return for a playoff run. Once a Wild Card spot was out of reach, the Red Sox realized there was no reason to rush.
The worst-case scenario leading to Tommy John surgery was deemed unlikely following Sale’s last appointment. The follow-up is expected to confirm this by checking the progress of his recovery. If the Red Sox were concerned that their ace would need surgery then there would be more urgency to have him checked out in order to schedule the procedure as soon as possible. The delay in setting his next appointment may actually be a positive sign.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports Group
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
O’Halloran’s comments about Sale having a “normal” offseason are encouraging. A setback that delays his throwing program risks Sale entering spring training unprepared. We saw Sale struggle to find his groove early this season following a reduced spring workload. He would be in danger of another rocky stretch to open the 2020 season if he’s limited in camp.
2019 was by far the worst of Sale’s career. He went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. His 25 starts and 147 1/3 innings were his fewest since he transitioned into a full-time starting pitcher.
His overall numbers are marred by a rough few outings to open the season and the elbow issues may have hindered him toward the end. Sale was still an elite strikeout pitcher who limited walks and he showed flashes of brilliance over the course of the season, providing hope that he can still be the pitcher who finished top-six on the Cy Young ballot in each of the previous seven years.
All signs are pointing toward Sale being ready for spring training, which should set him up for a bounce-back season. We’ll feel better about that outlook once he gets the thumbs up for Dr. Andrews and we see him back on the mound. For now, we’ll have to settle for the most positive update we’ve heard in weeks.