FORT MYERS – Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has no significant damage in his pitching elbow. Still, he is frustrated.
“It sucks,” Sale said Thursday. “I know the situation we’re in right now. And it’s not fun. I know there’s an expectation level our fans, you guys, myself, our team hold me to. I haven’t met that.”
An MRI of Sale’s left elbow revealed a flexor strain, interim manager Ron Roenicke said Thursday.
“Doctors have advised him to wait another week before he starts throwing again,” Roenicke told reporters, per ESPN. “He’ll start playing catch again. If everything is good, we’ll progress.”
Sale, who turns 31 later this month, reported elbow discomfort after a 15-pitch batting practice session Sunday in Fort Myers, Fla. An MRI was performed on Tuesday, and noted surgeons Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache reviewed the results.
“I talked to many doctors,” Sale said. “World-renowned. They seemed confident. Everyone agreed — take some time off, get some anti-inflammatories in there, start another throwing program and see what we get.”
Roenicke said that neither doctor recommended surgery for Sale.
Sunday’s outing marked the first time Sale had thrown to batters since August.
“I was able to get through most of my career doing what I love to do and helping my team win. … Over the last year and up to this point, I’ve done nothing but fall flat on my face,” Sale said. “It’s a gut punch. Tough realization. I’ve said it time and time again, I have no time to hang my head. Or sit in a corner and pout. I’ve got work to do. I’ve got an uphill battle to climb. But I’ve got my climbing shoes on.”
The seven-time All-Star missed the final six weeks last season with elbow inflammation. He got a late start to spring camp while battling pneumonia. The Red Sox previously announced that he would begin the season on the injured list.
Sale posted a 6-11 record with a 4.40 ERA in 2019, the worst year statistically of his career since he entered the Chicago White Sox rotation in 2012. He posted career lows in starts (25), wins and innings (147 1/3) and the highest ERA.
He has a 109-73 career record (35-23 with Boston) with a 3.03 ERA. He has 2,007 strikeouts in 1,629 2/3 innings over 312 games (232 starts).
Sale signed a five-year, $145 million contract extension in March 2019. The deal runs through the 2024 season and will pay him $30 million in 2020.
To address a need for more pitching, the Red Sox signed free agent right-hander Collin McHugh to a one-year contract, announced Thursday. The deal includes a $600,000 base salary plus incentives, per the Boston Globe.
McHugh, 32, spent the past six seasons with Houston. He was a 19-game winner in 2015 and has a 58-43 record with a 3.95 ERA in 210 games (119 starts) with the Astros, Colorado Rockies (2013) and New York Mets (2012-13). He has 771 strikeouts in 800 2/3 innings.