Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale has dealt with a lingering flexor strain in his left elbow since late August of 2019. According to Boston Herald reporter Jason Mastrodonato, manager Ron Roenicke indicated that the team will wait at least another week for Sale to begin pitching.
By any standard, the offseason for the Red Sox has been abysmal. The team fired their general manager, became involved in cheating investigations, and lost both David Price and Mookie Betts. If Chris Sale ends up having to undergo Tommy John surgery, things couldn't get much worse for Boston.
What we are hearing is that there is nothing to worry about with Sale. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic indicated sources have said Sale won't need TJS, but doubts and lingering questions among fans is understandable. All too often we have seen pitchers with similar issues eventually go under the knife.
It's been a bumpy ride since late in the 2019 season for Chris Sale. Last August, Sale met with the famed Dr. Andrews, and Andrews reported there was no need for Tommy John surgery at that time. Instead, Sale received an PRP (platelet-rich-plasma) injection and was kept from any further pitching the remainder of the 2019 season. Andrews gave Sale the go-ahead to begin pitching again in November of last year.
Sale seemed to be going in the right direction, but the team had already decided to start the 2020 season with Chris on Injured List due to issues, reportedly, with flu and pneumonia. Now, the elbow seems to be the real problem.
Another MRI was performed on Sale last Monday, with the results sent to both Dr. Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Manager Ron Roenicke spoke about Sale's issues and the plan moving forward.
There are lingering questions on Sale at this point, and teams often play the finer details of such situations close to the vest. All we know is that Chris won't be in the starting rotation as the season begins. I wouldn't be surprised if he misses the entire 2020 season.
Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi and Martín Pérez are likely to be the main three in Boston's rotation to start the season, but those fourth and fifth spots, at this point, are still up for grabs. Pitchers battling for those spots include Ryan Weber, Chris Mazza, Brian Johnson, Kyle Hart, Tanner Houck, and Darwinzon Hernandez. Hernandez is most likely to be their marquee bullpen star, but he could factor into the starting rotation as well.