Chris Sale’s return to the Red Sox is nearing its finish line, but though the pitcher has looked strong in his recent rehab starts, it’s still likely at least a few weeks away.
After striking out nine in 3-2/3 innings on Sunday in Portland, Sale’s next rehab start will come Saturday with Triple-A Worcester. It will not be his final rehab start, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said on Monday, meaning the left-hander will make at least two more starts before being activated as he makes his return from Tommy John surgery.
Following Saturday’s start in Worcester, Sale’s next outing could come on Aug. 5 with the WooSox on the road against Scranton Wilkes-Barre. If the Red Sox feel he’s ready after that, a return to Boston could come during the homestand that begins Aug. 10 against the Rays. He last pitched in a major-league game on Aug. 13, 2019.
Cora has said that the Red Sox want to get Sale to throw five or six innings in a rehab start before returning, or around 80 pitches. He threw 64 pitches on Sunday and felt good coming out of it. He joined the Red Sox in Boston on Monday.
“We had a conversation,” Cora said. “He was telling me about the fans (in Portland), how he felt. He felt more nervous in Sarasota with 30 people there than actually in Portland with a packed house.
“He’s been able to repeat his delivery. He loves the fact that his fastball command is there, the velocity is there. So, everything is trending the right way. He’ll pitch Saturday and we’ll go from there. But everything (Sunday) went well. That’s good news.”
Sawamura to make rehab start
Hirokazu Sawamura, who’s on the 10-day injured list with right triceps inflammation, is likely to make a rehab appearance in Worcester on Tuesday. Cora said over the weekend that the reliever’s injury is minor.
Bogaerts misses opener
Xander Bogaerts had an off day for Monday’s series opener with the Blue Jays, but it could be a much-needed breather for the shortstop. Bogaerts hurt his wrist on a swing he took on July 16 against the Yankees and was out the next day. Since returning, he’s hitting .192 with just two extra-base hits and two RBI.
Cora said Christian Vazquez will likely get an off day Wednesday, and Rafael Devers will get one Thursday.
Hernandez is AL player of week
Kiké Hernández has been named AL Player of the Week.
In six games last week, Hernandez batted .400 (10-for-25) with a .448 on-base percentage, 1.000 slugging percentage, 1.448 OPS, three homers, four doubles, one triple, eight runs, nine RBIs, three walks, two strikeouts and one sacrifice fly.