Chris Sale hasn't pitched since Aug. 13 as he has been dealing with left elbow soreness and inflammation. Sale had the troublesome elbow checked out by Dr. James Andrews and while Andrews determined the left-hander didn't need Tommy John surgery, many assumed that the Red Sox ace wouldn't have much of a chance to return this season. After all, the team confirmed that he would likely be re-examined in six weeks and that roughly coincides with the end of the season.
However, Red Sox manager Alex Cora didn't put the notion of Sale returning to bed in an interview on Friday night and he had a positive update about Sale's rehab.
"[Sale] actually did start playing catch," Cora said to reporters as captured by NESN ahead of the game Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels. "He started playing catch at home. He's working out at Babson [College] because there's a concert right now [at Fenway]. He's been playing catch, he's making strides, he's feeling better. So hopefully during the week, we can add a little bit to his plan and we'll see where we go. There's still a chance (that he'll be back)."
That's certainly a departure from the early reports about Sale. Perhaps Cora is being a bit overly optimistic, but the fact that Sale has resumed playing catch is definitely a good sign.
Of course, the Red Sox still shouldn't rush Sale back. It may be tempting to do so, especially with the team now within striking distance of a Wild Card spot -- they entered Friday night's contest 5 1/2 games back of the second wild-card spot -- but they need to be concerned about his long-term health first and foremost given the five-year, $145 million extension he signed just before the season began.
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