Chris Sale has been making steady progress in his return from Tommy John surgery, and the Red Sox have revealed when he may return to a major league mound.
After being swept by the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend and falling out of first place in the AL East, the Boston Red Sox has some help coming.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, Chris Sale is expected to make one more rehab start and could return to Boston’s rotation by the middle of the month.
Sale has not pitched for the Red Sox since late in the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery. Before being sidelined that season, he posted a 4.40 ERA with peripherals that suggest he deserved better (3.39 FIP, 13.3 K/9).
Over his first two seasons in Boston (2017-2018), he had a 2.56 ERA with an 0.92 WHIP and 175 ERA+.
Chris Sale will be a natural boost to the Red Sox playoff push
The Red Sox starting rotation has not been great this season, and more broadly it’s been a mixed bag. That said. stability has been a positive. Five guys (Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Eduardo Rodriguez, Garrett Richards, Martin Perez) have started 20 or more games, and they’ve combined to start 103 of their 107 games entering Monday.
Sale has been fantastic in four rehab starts to this point (1.76 ERA, 27 strikeouts and two walks in 15.1 innings). He pitched five innings and threw 81 pitches in his most recent rehab start over the weekend, so 90 pitches seem to be the threshold he’ll have in what’s being prescribed as his last rehab start on Saturday.
Even on what will surely be limited pitch counts upon his return, Sale will practically be like a trade acquisition to bolster the starting rotation for the Red Sox. Not many teams added an ace at the deadline, and Tampa Bay all but officially lost theirs for the season (Tyler Glasnow).