Red Sox

Chris Sale might not be ready for Opening Day, but he's ready to make amends for 2019

Chris Sale might not be ready for Opening Day, but he's ready to make amends for 2019

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- And now for the non-cheating portion of Chris Sale's first press conference in six months, also known as the part that's most relevant to the team's chances in 2020 ...

While Sale's frank discussion of the Astros cheating scandal and the possibility that the Red Sox won't come out of the league's investigation unscathed will be sure to dominate headlines, Sale also spoke at length about his health and readiness to erase the disappointment of 2019.

The good news is that Sale believes his elbow is healthy. The bad news is that he contracted pneumonia two weeks ago and is still limited by the illness, which could jeopardize his availability on opening day.

"I got sick and tried to get over it for a couple of days, got a little bit worse, went back to the doctor and he was like, 'You've got pneumonia.' Well, that's inconvenient," Sale said. "What are you going to do? You deal with it and move on. Took some medicine, starting to move around a little bit, trying to get my stamina back up. I'm over the hump now. The worst of it's behind me, and now get back to doing baseball stuff."

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Sale hasn't pitched since shutting it down last August. What he described as a "major injury" to his elbow required a second opinion from noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, who proscribed rest and a platelet rich plasma injection, much to Sale's relief.

After months of therapy and strengthening, Sale returned to the rubber this winter and ended up throwing six or seven times off a mound, by his estimation.

"I feel better than I have in a long time, actually," he said. "I've never taken that time off before. I don't know if since I started playing baseball if I've had that time off. Obviously it's something you don't want to have to go through, that was miserable, but there's silver linings in everything. You try to take the positives in every crappy scenario that comes up. I think that time off helped my entire body regenerate, my shoulder, my elbow, my forearm, every muscle in my body got a long break and a time to heal. I think in the end it will help me out in the long run."

The misery Sale wasn't related to pain or uncertainty, but his absence.

"Just not throwing, not playing," he said. "Being in Florida in August, I've never done that, I've never not traveled with a team. Watching my team play from my bed or from my couch at my house is just a weird feeling. That's uncharted territory for me.

"Until you start throwing again, you don't know what it feels like. I can do all these exercises, I can lift every weight, I can do strength tests, I can move my arm in all different directions, but until you throw a baseball, you have no idea what you're working with. That was a great day for me, starting to throw again and actually seeing the progress we had made in the training room translate to the field."

Manager Ron Roenicke would like his pitchers to make six starts this spring in order to avoid a repeat of last year's stumble out of the gates. Sale might already be too far behind to reach that threshold in time for the opener in Toronto on March 26.

"I hope not," he said. "Whatever's best, that's what we're going to do. I trust these guys, I trust the process we have. Over the next couple of weeks we're going to map out a throwing program. I'm getting off the mound tomorrow, and then we'll build up to live BPs from that, but taking basically two weeks off right before spring training is not ideal."

If there's a silver lining to Sale's down 2019, which saw him go a career-worst 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA, it's that he was able to reflect on what went wrong while he threw what he described as "batting practice" in too many of his starts.

"You learn a lot about yourself when you're just sitting around with nothing going on," Sale said, adding, "As bad as I was last year, I learned a lot, and that's going to help me moving forward."

Relive Manny Ramirez's greatest moments on Red Sox legend's 48th birthday

Relive Manny Ramirez's greatest moments on Red Sox legend's 48th birthday

One of the most entertaining players ever to don a Boston Red Sox uniform was born 48 years ago today.

That would be Manny Ramirez, who celebrates his birthday on May 30. In honor of the special occasion, Major League Baseball tweeted an awesome video that includes some of Ramirez's greatest moments:

Watch below:

That cutoff of Johnny Damon's throw never gets old.

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Ramirez joined the Red Sox in 2001 after spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Cleveland Indians. From there, he became a key contributor to two World Series titles (2004 and 2007) and furthered his legacy as one of the best right-handed hitters of all time.

He isn't done yet, either. Ramirez announced just a couple of months ago he is hoping to find a roster spot in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League. More "Manny Being Manny"? That sounds great to us.

We wish a very happy birthday to one of the greatest (and most interesting) players in Red Sox history.

Ever Wonder Series: Why did the distance of Fenway Park's Green Monster change?

Ever Wonder Series: Why did the distance of Fenway Park's Green Monster change?

Of all of Fenway Park's quirks, my favorite might be how the 315-foot sign on the Green Monster suddenly became 310.

It's possible I love this story because the sportswriter gets to be the hero.

In 1995, the Globe's Dan Shaughnessy decided to settle one of the most persistent rumors of his career. He remembers hearing it as a cub reporter during the 1975 World Series, when the Reds insisted to a man that Fenway's famed left field fence couldn't possibly be 315 down the line.

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They all believed it was closer, but no one could prove it, because the Red Sox resisted periodic efforts to measure and answer the question once and for all.

That didn't stop the Globe from accessing the park's original 1912 blueprints, which showed the wall at 308 feet. They enlisted a World War II reconnaissance pilot to examine aerial photos, and he pegged it at 304. The author George Sullivan crawled up the foul line with a yardstick and settled on 309-5.

None of those numbers ever became official, though, because 315 by that point had been well-established as part of the park's lore. Fenway opened in 1912, was extensively renovated in 1934, and added bullpens in 1940, giving us the dimensions we essentially recognize today. For more than 60 years, the 315 sign at the base of the foul pole beckoned right-handed sluggers, terrified pitchers, and lived in what felt like perfect accuracy.

But Shaughnessy had other ideas. He finally decided to take matters into his own hands in March of 1995. His friends on the grounds crew looked the other way as he hopped a fence in an empty Fenway and unfurled a 100-foot Stanley SteelMaster tape measure.

It only took a matter of minutes to prove his hunch correct: 315 wasn't 315 at all.

It was 310, or 309-3, to be precise. Shaughnessy wrote about his findings in late April, and within a month, the Red Sox had quietly changed the sign to 310, which it remains to this day.

"My whole life looking at that wall, it was 315," Shaughnessy said. "Shortly after the story appeared, they changed it to 310, which surprised me. It was very un-Red Sox like in those days, and these days.

"Now when I see 310, I take some pride in that."