Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale won’t be seen on the mound again until 2021 – or later. The 30-year-old left-hander will undergo Tommy John surgery.
Sale is no stranger to injury. He has struggled in recent seasons. In 2018, shoulder problems limited the pitcher to 158 innings. Then, in 2019, elbow issues put Sale’s season to an end in August. He went 6-11 and had a 4.40 ERA in 2019, the worst in his career.
In early March of this year, he experienced a flexor strain. A couple of weeks later Sale experienced pain again. It became clear that surgery was the best option.
According to Chaim Bloom, Boston’s chief baseball officer, surgery has been viewed as an eventuality for Sale. It was only a matter of time.
There was not one distinct moment that led to Sale’s decision to undergo surgery. However, flexor strains are common before Tommy John surgery.
Bloom added that despite the coronavirus pandemic delaying the MLB season, it did not directly influence Sale’s decision to undergo surgery.
Recovery usually takes 12-14 months. If all goes well, Boston could see Sale back on the mound in early 2021.
Sale is 109-73 overall with a 3.03 ERA in 312 career appearances. He has started 232 games and struck out 30.7% of the batters that he has faced.
What does this mean for the Red Sox?
Without Sale, Boston is short on pitching and their depth chart will be put to the test.
Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi will need to step up in order to give the Red Sox a shot in the 2020 season. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic and spring training being put to a halt, both pitchers were on their A-games.
It is unknown who the Red Sox will hand the ball to on Opening Day. Martin Perez and Ryan Weber are also in the mix.