Make no mistake about it - Chris Sale is certain he will pitch for the Boston Red Sox in 2021.
Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe
A Fenway Park outfield throwing session on Monday was followed by a bullpen session on Tuesday, leading Sale to emphatically state that "unless something crazy happens," he is 100% certain that he will be back on the mound before the end of the season.
While he was certainly encouraged by the sight of the big lefty throwing off a mound again, manager Alex Cora tempered the enthusiasm a bit. "It felt good to see him, to have him around, and now we get excited but at the same time, we have to be disciplined, we have to be patient and whenever he's ready, we know he's going to contribute."
The bullpen session was just 25 pitches, consistent with what a pitcher might throw in the weeks approaching the start of spring training.
Sale is hoping a return to action comes sooner, rather than later. "I've done everything I possibly could to put myself in the best position."
Sale hinted at the possibility of making his return as a reliever. “If they told me, ‘Hey, we need a guy in the bullpen and we’ll build you up there instead of doing like a rehab assignment,’ hell, I would be game for that. The quicker I can get on this team, I would like that."
Expect Sale to throw a few more side sessions, including some facing live hitters, before the team considers him ready to begin any kind of a minor league rehab schedule.
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