Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale, 32, pitching in the second inning against the Orioles during a Florida Complex League (FCL) rookie-level Minor League Baseball league on Thursday, July 15, 2021, at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.

Chris Sale’s path back to the big league’s took a major step Tuesday night. After making his first rehab appearance in the Florida Complex League, Sale faced more experienced hitters when he took the mound for the Double-AA Portland Sea Dogs.

Facing the Harrisburg Senators (a Washington Nationals affiliate), Sale threw 3.2 innings, allowing no hits and no runs while striking out six batters. Right fielder Gage Canning was the only Senators’ batter to reach base – once on a walk in the first inning and again via an error in the fourth. In between, Sale set down nine straight.

In total Sale threw 49 pitches, 34 for strikes. That’s more than double his previous outing, which lasted just 23 pitches. Both of Sale’s starts have seen him go beyond the originally scheduled innings expectation.

There was also a notable increase in Sale’s velocity. While his fastball sat in the mid-90’s last week, on Tuesday night he was consistently throwing it 97 MPH, at one point reaching 98.

The Red Sox had Sale on the typical four days of rest between the two starts. If they keep him on that schedule, his next start would come on Sunday. There’s a good chance he’d be back in Portland, as the Sea Dogs are once again home against the Senators, while the WooSox are on the road in Pennsylvania. Depending on how his next start goes, some project he could be able to return to the Red Sox without needing another outing.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.