Chris Sale takes another step toward Red Sox return
It’s been a rough go for the Red Sox to open the 2022 regular season. After yesterday’s thumping at the hands of the Minnesota Twins on Opening Day, everyone is a bit down. The season is still very early and we’re only a week in, so plenty of time to right the ship. We did get some good news yesterday as Chris Sale was seen throwing at Fenway Park and the ace looks to be on the path to a return.
Sale made a triumphant comeback from Tommy John Surgery last year and quickly helped the Red Sox pitching staff en route to the ALCS. Not every start looked great and he had his hiccups in October, but having Chris Sale on the mound is a hell of a lot better than not having him there. Going into this season, he led a squad down to his Alma Mater, Florida Gulf Coast University, and did what he could to get them ready during the lockout.
Unfortunately, it was during those workouts that he developed a stress fracture in his ribs which would ultimately cause him to start the year on the IL. We’ve heard from the southpaw in the past weeks and it seems like he’s feeling much better and is able to live his life much more comfortably, but the timetable is still very murky to get him back in the rotation.
Sale spoke yesterday ahead of Opening Day at Fenway Park and he seemed very optimistic about his trajectory and outlook, per Steve Hewitt of The Boston Herald.
"“We’re in a good spot, obviously,” Sale said. “The worst part of it is time. The build back up is going to take a little bit of time just because I’ve got to get some innings and get my arm stretched out. We’re on the right path.”"
Patience is a virtue and it’s something that The Boogeyman has learned to appreciate over the last few years. We saw how anxious he was during his TJS recovery and even now to get back to work and this Red Sox team. Thankfully, it seems that taking the slow path back from TJS has opened his eyes to the benefits of not rushing to get on the mound ASAP.
Hearing his mindset as he works his way back instills nothing but confidence in me that we may get one of the best versions of Chris Sale we’ve seen. He’s spent extra time down in Fort Myers with the staff and trainers and is now back in Boston surrounded by some of the best in the game and it’s got him firing on all cylinders.
Due to his status on the 60-day IL, the earliest he can return is June so there’s no reason to rush anything. Take it day by day and use those small stepping stone goals to reach the bigger picture result. Throwing long toss on flat ground is a big move in the right direction and the more he’s able to do that without any pain the sooner he can start tossing off the mound.
"“For instance, I went out there and threw today and I feel like I could throw in a game,” Sale said. “But that doesn’t really make a lot of sense. That’s just me being a little overconfident or just being myself, honestly. I like playing. But I understand with this comes a certain level of work that has to be done before. You can’t just go run a couple of sprints and then be like, alright, we have to go run a marathon. I’ve got to get some practice in, I’ve got to get stretched out.”"
Knowing we’ll be getting this lunatic back on the roster in time to make a surge in the second half could be the spark this Red Sox side needs. We’re just a week into a very long season but it’s been a rough ride for Boston’s starters. Adding one of the best to do the damn thing back into the equation very well could be the spark to get them back to the Postseason. We saw how much of a factor he was in getting the Sox to the ALCS in 2021, maybe there’s some more magic in that left arm to do it again.
The Red Sox will need every weapon possible to compete with the rest of the American League as it feels like most of the team’s rivals only got better this winter. Having Sale back in the mix with this pitching staff will only bolster Alex Cora’s arsenal and will level the playing field against some of the league’s absolute best. Taking each day of rehab one step at a time will ensure that we get the best version of him possible and that could mean some bad things for anyone standing in that batter’s box.