Red Sox lefty Chris Sale scheduled to test his injured elbow on Friday

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 17: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox throws a bullpen session during a team workout at jetBlue Park at Fenway South on February 17, 2020 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 17: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox throws a bullpen session during a team workout at jetBlue Park at Fenway South on February 17, 2020 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale is on the shelf for the meantime with an injured elbow, and we now have some sort of timetable for an update.

Well, Red Sox Nation we may be getting a new chapter in the novel that is Chris Sale‘s pesky left elbow. Boston’s ace is set to test the injured limb this Friday after taking time off to let it rest. The southpaw nearly dodged the baseball bullet of Tommy John surgery last week but isn’t fully out of the weeds just yet.

Sale is suffering from a flexor strain in his left elbow, the very elbow that caused him to be shut down early in 2019. He was able to avoid any major procedures during the winter and has been eager to get back on the mound. As camp approached he came down with a case of pneumonia that set his spring training back a few weeks.

Though he was able to get clear of the sickness his goal of being on the hill for Opening Day is long gone. Add in the new development with his elbow and we have no idea when we may see The Condor in 2020. Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke has already stated that his ace would begin the season on the IL in order to get more reps before facing real competition.

"“We talked to [head trainer] Brad [Pearson] a little bit more,” Boston manager Ron Roenicke said on Tuesday. “[Sale] said he wants to evaluate it at 10 days, and then if he’s not ready, to re-evaluate at 14 days.”"

It seemed as if Sale was on target to begin some Grapefruit League work before his elbow began barking again last week. After three opinions from top surgeons, it was decided that he would just take some time off to let it heal naturally. Boston was given a 10-14 day time-span as far as a rest period to see if the flexor would be able to recover without surgery.

This Friday brings us to the 10-day mark and all eyes will be on Fort Myers to see what Sale can do. It’s also been said that if he is unable to throw that they will just push back the test until next week when the 14-day window closes. Not to sound dramatic, but these next few days could be incredibly important if the Red Sox want any shot of contention in 2020.

Things haven’t always been perfect for the southpaw in Boston as he’s had some sort of health issue in each of his seasons. Shoulder flare-ups in both 2017 and 2018 caused him to miss time while he would need to be shut down early in 2019. Even with the stints on the IL in his first two seasons, he was given a massive 5 year, $145M contract extension that’s set to kick in this season.

It very well may have been that extension that was the final coffin in former president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski losing his job. You just can’t be giving guys a key to the Brink’s truck if their health isn’t perfect. Injuries can always occur but with a history of needing rest late in seasons and the recent trips to the IL, the extension could’ve waited.

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So, the best-case scenario is that Sale can throw on Friday and everything not only feels good during the session but feels good on Saturday. That’ll be the key to any hope in 2020. He not only has to be able to make it through the test feeling strong but his recovery the next day also has to go well.

There’s no doubt that he wants to be back on the mound every fifth day but there’s also no sense in pushing him just to have the elbow become more of a problem down the road. I imagine he’d still be on the IL for the beginning of the season due to missing even more time. I can’t foresee him pitching in a real game until May or even possibly June, depending on how Friday goes.

Sale is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best pitchers in the game when he’s healthy. Red Sox Nation has seen glimpses of his brilliance over the last few seasons when his body allows him to achieve those heights. However, that brilliance comes at a price and as he enters his thirties, he’s beginning to pay it.

Next. Chris Sale addresses his latest injury. dark

I appreciate how the Red Sox are handling the situation as by taking their time and being cautious they can only be helping the matter. If they were to rush through his recovery to get him back on the mound ASAP, it likely would’ve backfired. I’d much rather have a healthy Chris Sale for 2/3 of the season over a semi-healthy one for a small portion. Friday will be a big step in seeing just which Chris Sale we’ll be seeing in 2020.