Red Sox

Chris Sale's Red Sox return date is set after strong rehab outing

Red Sox

The scuffling Boston Red Sox could use a boost. Enter Chris Sale.

The left-handed ace will start for Boston on Saturday, Aug. 14, against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park, manager Alex Cora confirmed Sunday.

Sale's start will come two years and one day since his last major league appearance on Aug. 13, 2019. Sale went on the injured list with elbow inflammation the following day and underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2020, missing the entire 2020 season.

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The 32-year-old has pitched very well in his minor-league rehab starts, culminating with Saturday's outing for Triple-A Worcester against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Sale allowed just two hits and no runs over 4.2 innings, walking three and striking out eight on 89 pitches.

Sale made a total of five rehab starts between July 15 and Aug. 7, allowing three earned runs over 20 innings (1.35 ERA) with 35 strikeouts.

Sale's return can't come soon enough for Boston, which has lost nine of its last 12 games and ranks 24th in team ERA (4.87) since the All-Star break.

Clayton Kershaw and Jacob deGrom are the only active pitchers with a lower career ERA than Sale (3.02), so if the seven-time All-Star can return to form, he'll be a huge asset to the Red Sox' rotation as they chase an American League East pennant.