Red Sox manager Alex Cora has made it clear: They are not going to rush lefty ace Chris Sale back to the rotation. Not again.
“We’re not going to push [Sale],” Cora said Monday. “We’re not shooting for Sunday or Friday, or whatever. We’re shooting for whenever he’s ready. As of now, he’s going through all these exercises trying to get the inflammation to go.”
The Red Sox’ new, patient approach with Sale comes after Sale made just one start in his first return to the rotation. Granted, it was still an effective one start, with 12 strikeouts and just one hit allowed in five innings of work against the Orioles on Aug. 12. But one start was not what the Sox signed up for when they activated Sale the first time around.
This is something that Sale himself subtly acknowledged when discussing this trip to the disabled list this past weekend.
“We want to be able to sprint across the finish line and not limp into it,” Sale, who admitted that this is something he would be pitching through if the race were closer, said this weekend. “Given where we are, it’s the right call to give it some rest. Obviously terrible timing, not exactly the most ideal situation. To be honest, quite miserable for me.”
But the Red Sox want Sale to be as right as can be for the postseason.
That’s why Cora has refused to put a timeline on Sale jumping back into the rotation — or even throwing a baseball.
“What we’re trying to accomplish here is for him to be pain-free, and then just go from there,” Cora said of Sale.
“We want them to be trending up in September. I don’t want them to be trending down,” Cora offered of his pitching staff as a whole. “I don’t want them to go mid-September and the stuff is trending down. It should be the other way around.”