Red Sox lose Chris Sale to Tommy John surgery
Things have been incredibly rocky for the Red Sox dating all the way back to last season. Coming off of an absolutely dominant World Series run in 2018, reality hit back hard in 2019 and brought them back to Earth. The hits kept on coming during the offseason as the team traded away David Price and Mookie Betts in an effort to corral their exessive budget. Then the news cam that Chris Sale would be lost for all of 2020 and the early part of 2021 due to needing Tommy John Surgery.
Since arriving in Boston in December of 2016, the southpaw has been the ace of the staff and has shown a high level of leadership on a very young team. His efforts in 2017 and 2018 were rewarded with a massive contract extension (5-yrs/$145M) ahead of the 2019 season.
Unfortunately for everyone involved it would come ahead of a campaign plagued with poor outings and injuries. Though he did show flashes of brilliance with multiple immaculate innings and big strikeout games, they were too few and far between.
The Condor went under the knife at the end of March and has since been working his way back to the mound. Of course, when it was decided that he would get the surgery nobody knew that we’d still be plagued by a global pandemic five months later.
COVID-19 has thrown the entire world on its head and has made everyday life a stressful endeavor for many if not most. For a guy making his way back from an intense procedure such as TJS it sure as hell can’t make rehab easy.
Sale spoke with Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic on Wednesday and gave her insight into not only his rehab and mindset but what life has been like for him since surgery and the pandemic. It was nice to not only hear from the Boston ace but to get that look into what it’s like to rehab from an injury and while his team forges on during a global pandemic.
One of the bigger bits of info that came from his conversation with Jen was that he’s gearing up to begin throwing soon, much to the delight of Red Sox Nation.
"“They basically told me they want me to get between four and five months out, they have it dialed in closer to that five-month mark,” Sale told The Athletic on Wednesday. “Then we just start going from there, slowly but surely, hit every step. We’ve only got one chance to do this and we want to do this the right way.”"
Chris Sale opens up about rehab and life away from the Red Sox
Based on the usual timeline for TJS recovery, we won’t see Sale until probably late April or May of 2021, but for the Red Sox, that return will be welcomed greatly. We’ve all seen the nightmare that has been the Boston pitching staff this year so getting a trusted and reliable veteran back into the rotation is a great thought.
With Price getting shipped off to the Dodgers and Eduardo Rodriguez developing Myocarditis due to his bout with COVID, the starters have been crushed.
The lefty isn’t Boston’s first starter to go under the knife for Tommy John as Nathan Eovaldi has undergone the procedure twice in his career. Sale was open that the best advice that he’s received during his recovery came from Nasty Nate and it focused on setting short-term goals.
"“For me, the best advice I’ve had came from Nate Eovaldi,” Sale said of his teammate, who’s had Tommy John surgery twice. “And that was don’t get too far ahead. I can’t look at March of next year. I can’t look at January of next year. He basically told me, ‘Set two-week goals.”"
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Sale did express how thankful he is that he’s been able to spend so much time with his family. Usually, by this time, we’re more than halfway into the season and he would’ve been on the road for quite some time. I think we can all share that sentiment with the ace as I’m sure we’re all grateful for each and every second we’re getting with our families during the pandemic. I know I am.
At the heart of the matter though Sale is still an insanely competitive athlete and he wants to get back to his team and to the mound as soon as he can. I’m sure we all remember his outburst in the dugout during the 2018 World Series while the Red Sox weren’t playing up to their potential. It’s that mentality and competitive nature that has made him the elite player that he is, and it’s why Boston was so willing to extend his deal to keep him at Fenway Park for the foreseeable future.
"“I miss it. I miss being a baseball player. I miss throwing. I miss pitching. I miss playing the games and competing and being around my teammates and traveling. It’s fun, I appreciate the time I’ve had here with my family, but I do have an obligation and that’s being a baseball player and I miss it.”"
It’s great to hear from Chris Sale as he makes his way back to the Red Sox for next season. I can’t imagine what his rehab has been like with the pandemic but from what he’s said it’s right on track for his return next year. For the Red Sox, he can’t get back to full health soon enough as the pitching corps is beyond depleted with just over half the season left. Having the Condor back at 100% and throwing that slider as nasty as ever will be a massive boost to this pitching staff and team.