The return of the "Boogeyman" is inching closer.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale threw about 40 pitches Friday during a bullpen session at Triple-A Worcester and looked no worse for wear as he continues his rehab from March 2020 Tommy John surgery, per Joe McDonald of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Sale is slated to throw bullpens this upcoming Tuesday and Friday before facing live hitters the following week, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Saturday, via The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.
Sale called Friday's session a "step in the right direction," noting he's now able to "throw all my pitches aggressively," per McDonald.
That's great news for the Red Sox, who were optimistic about Sale returning at some point in 2021 but weren't sure how the 32-year-old left-hander would hold up as he ramped up activity.
The next step after facing live batters is usually a rehab assignment in the minors, so if things continue to go well, it's possible we could see Sale on the mound for the WooSox sometime in early July.
Boston likely will take a conservative approach with Sale, especially after New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard was shut down for six weeks in late May due to a elbow inflammation while rehabbing from Tommy John.
But the Red Sox certainly could use Sale's services for the stretch run -- they own a 5.07 ERA as a staff in the month of June -- and it sounds like he's on track to provide them.