Red Sox lefty Chris Sale provides an update on his injured ribs
According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Sale recently had another MRI to check the stress fracture in his rib, which revealed that progress has been made in the healing process.
"“From what I heard, they said, ‘It’s better. It’s healing. It’s showing signs of healing. The bruising is going down.’ Yeah, good spot.” said Sale."
The lefty has been feeling much better lately and is starting to ramp up his activity. He can run, jump and twist without pain. Now it’s just a matter of when he can throw.
Sale confirmed that there was no problem with the muscle, he’s just waiting for the bone to heal. As eager as he is to get back on the mound, Sale acknowledged that he needs to be cautious with his recovery to avoid a setback.
Spring training will be over by the time Sale is cleared to pitch from a mound. He clearly won’t be ready for Opening Day next week and the expectation is that he will be sidelined for at least the first month of the season. He’s going to need time to build up his arm strength to prepare for a starter’s workload. While the injury has held him back from getting into his full routine, Sale hasn’t exactly been sitting around doing nothing.
"“I have had some time but I don’t think my starting point is going to be zero,” Sale explained. “I put in a lot of work and I’ve been doing a lot of work over the last couple of weeks. I feel like it’s coming back pretty quick. It shouldn’t be too long.”"
Sale reported the injury to the Red Sox as soon as the lockout ended. A 6-8 week time frame is a fair estimate for a broken bone to heal and Sale indicated it had already been about a month by the time training camp started. It’s reasonable to expect he should be cleared to throw within a week or two. Pitchers usually have about six weeks to ramp up in spring training but the lockout forced teams to rush through an abbreviated camp. If everyone else managed to get ready for the season in about a month, Sale should be able to as well, assuming he’s healthy. Maybe that means he makes his season debut on the early side of May instead of the end of the month or June.
Considering how slowly the Red Sox brought Sale along following his return from Tommy John surgery last year, we know they aren’t going to rush him.
A delayed start to the season might be a blessing in disguise. Sale hasn’t made more than 27 starts or logged 160+ innings since 2017, his first season with the Red Sox. He also has a history of fading down the stretch with his 3.77 ERA in September/October being the worst of any months in his career. Sitting out the first month of the season and being cautious with his workload along the way will help keep his arm fresh into the postseason.
In the meantime, Boston has added enough depth to cover during Sale’s absence. Michael Wacha is one of the new additions who has already claimed a rotation spot while Rich Hill is battling Garrett Whitlock for the No. 5 spot. The back of the rotation has some questions pertaining to how they will hold up for a full season but they should be able to hold down the fort until Sale returns to solidify the staff.