The news was good on Wednesday and Chris Sale will be pitching in Portland again this weekend.
Sale woke up Wednesday morning with a “great feeling” after dominating a rehab start with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs on Tuesday night. Sale works his way back to the Red Sox after Tommy John’s surgery.
With a new nutrition plan that has eliminated gluten and alcohol from his diet, among other things, Sale has been a role model for good health in his recovery over the past few months. Next stop: Another start for the Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field on Sunday.
“Everyone is excited to see what we saw yesterday,” said Red Sox manager Cora. “I’m happier with his position today and hopefully we will carry on as he should and they will join us when he is ready.”
Sale hit over 3 2/3 hitless innings for the Sea Dogs 98 mph on Tuesday night.
“It was a bit off in terms of mechanics in the beginning, and that’s now part of the progress,” said Cora. “He pitches in front of the fans. The competition is a little better. But he has settled down and can repeat his delivery. The slider was really good. The fastball was obviously up, in terms of speed.
“Everyone is very satisfied with the way the trip went. He was excited as he warmed up. He was a little off. But little by little he was able to repeat it and it was great. “
It’s uncertain if Sale will need a rehab start or two before returning to Boston, but it’s certainly doable that Sunday’s start could be his last before returning to the big league for the first time in two years plays.
Cora had an interesting comment as he laid out his rotation for the rest of the week.
“We’re driving Tanner Houck, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez at the weekend,” said Cora. “If all goes well and he’s healthy, we’ll go to Nick Pivetta on Monday, Garrett Richards on Tuesday and decide what to do next.”
It’s unclear whether he was talking about Sale being healthy or someone else.
With Houck in the rotation, the Sox will remain in a six-man group in the future.
“I think it’s beneficial for her,” said Cora. “Even though we just got out of the All-Star break, we had the rain yesterday, but we planned it ahead of the season and we will hold on to it.”
The sales feeling on Wednesday was important. The day after is always the big test. A pair of New York aces that had Tommy John around the same time as Sale – Noah Syndergaard and Luis Severino – and both failed their minor league rehab the day after and were sidelined all summer.
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