Boston Red Sox

The start of the regular season for the Red Sox is right around the corner. However, the team will begin play without one of its best pitchers.

Speaking with Red Sox media at Spring Training on Wednesday, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters Chris Sale will miss the beginning of the regular season due to a stress fracture in his ribs. The injury occurred while Sale was throwing a pitch during a workout at Florida Gulf Coast University, where Red Sox players worked out during the MLB lockout.

According to Bloom, Sale currently isn’t throwing and it will be “weeks not days” until he resumes working out. Opening Day is three weeks from Thursday, when the Red Sox will be in New York to take on the Yankees.

Sale himself spoke to the media shortly after. He told reporters the injury occurred about four weeks ago, but he couldn’t inform the team due to the lockout. Once the lockout was lifted, his first calls were to Bloom and manager Alex Cora. Sale himself said he does not know when he’ll get on a mound again. Sale also described the injury as a “freak accident” when asked if it would have happened in a normal offseason without a lockout.

“I built a badass racecar and it broke down before the race started,” Sale added, noting he’d worked hard to get into game shape after missing almost two years due to injuries including Tommy John surgery. He said he’d focused heavily on long toss this offseason, trying to get his arm strength back up.

After missing the 2020 and most of the 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery and related complications, Sale returned to the mound late last season. He had a 3.16 ERA in 42.2 innings over nine starts. In his first postseason start, he was tagged for five earned runs in just one winning, but bounced back in the ALCS allowing just three earned runs in eight innings over two starts.

Without Sale to start the 2021 regular season, the Red Sox now have another hole in their starting rotation. Nathan Eovaldi and Nick Pivetta will likely get the top two spots to start the season, with Tanner Houck, Connor Seabold, Garrett Whitlock, and Michael Wacha competing the openings on the back end. Prospects Bryan Mata and Josh Winckowski could also factor in later in the season.

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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.