Chris Sale's frustrating season continued on Saturday evening.
The Boston Red Sox starter, who sports a 6-11 record and a career-worst 4.40 ERA, was placed on the 10-day IL with left elbow inflammation. The team confirmed this on Twitter and stated that Ryan Brasier would be called up to replace Sale.
To make matters worse for Sale, Dave Dombrowski confirmed that Dr. James Andrews will be taking a look at Sale's MRI and Sale could even visit the renowned orthopedic surgeon. That could be a red flag that Sale has a bigger issue, as pitchers often visit Dr. Andrews to get second opinions about Tommy John surgery, per Jason Mastrodonato of The Boston Herald.
Dombrowski was noncommittal about Sale pitching again in 2019, so this situation will need to be monitored over the course of the coming week.
Sale joins teammate and fellow starter, David Price, on the IL. Price is dealing with a wrist injury caused by a cyst. Price may need surgery on the malady this offseason if the cortisone shot he received doesn't break up the cyst.
With both Sale and Price out, the Red Sox' starting rotation gets thinner, and that will make keeping pace in the Wild Card race a bit more difficult. With Andrew Cashner now pitching out of the bullpen, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello are the only two true starters in the rotation. Guys like Brian Johnson, Cashner, and Nathan Eovaldi do have starting experience, but only Cashner is currently stretched out to take on a starter's workload. Still, members of that trio may be asked to start until either Sale or Price can return.
Meanwhile, Brasier will return to the big-league club for the first time since he lasted just 2/3 of an inning in a four-run appearance on July 15 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Brasier has a 2-3 record and 4.46 ERA in 44 appearances with the Red Sox, but struggles with consistency prompted his demotion.
Brasier seems to be back on the right track now. In 10 appearances for Pawtucket, he is 2-0 with a minuscule 0.96 ERA and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox will hope that he can return to the form he held last year when he was a key late-inning bullpen option en route to the team's World Series victory.
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