Chris Sale’s return to the mound is approaching.
The southpaw has spent most of the 2021 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in Fort Myers, Florida, but his arrival in Boston this week indicates the Red Sox ace may be ready to return soon.
According to Jen McCaffrey of Athletic, the Red Sox are aiming for a mid-August comeback for the 2018 World Series champion.
“Two months away, it’s a reasonable assumption right now, without putting a date on it,” said pitching coach Dave Bush. “Where is he now is about where the guys would be right before they show up in Fort Myers, which is on the mound, building their strength in the bullpen. The next step when they show up in spring training is a couple of bullpens, in I live BP then games, so that’s a reasonable assumption of where we are now. “
Sale could possibly have returned earlier, but was delayed in the fall with a neck problem and regressed again in January after contracting COVID-19.
The 32-year-old jokingly told manager Alex Cora that he would be ready to pitch next week for Game 2 in Atlanta because he wants to hit at Truist Park.
When Sale returns, he probably won’t have a chance to step up. A return in mid-August would see him face the Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees or the Texas Rangers. At that time, the Red Sox didn’t face a National League opponent outside of Fenway Park until October.
Sale hasn’t pitched since 2019, which was a low year for him. He was 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA, 1,086 WHIP and 218 strikeouts in 147.1 innings. The Florida native hopes Tommy John’s surgery will return him to All-Star form. Before 2019, he was an All-Star for seven consecutive seasons.