Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale is making encouraging progress in his rehab from Tommy John surgery, but he's not quite ready to make his return to the Fenway Park mound for game action just yet.
When does Sale expect to pitch again in the major league level?
"As soon as possible. Yesterday was a good day and another step in the right direction," Sale told reporters on a Zoom call Thursday morning. "I came in today feeling very good. I was able to move my arm around and soreness in all the good spots. I just have to keep trucking forward."
One of the next steps for Sale likely will be to make a rehab start(s) in the minors, potentially in Portland and/or Worcester. How many of those outings would Sale need before joining the Red Sox?
"I don't know. This is really my first time going through anything like this," Sale admitted. "I wouldn't assume it's going to be a whole lot. I don't think I need like seven starts. If we keep having days like yesterday then I would say sooner rather than later. I also know not to get too far ahead of myself in this process. I don't have an exact answer, but I'm feeling good and I know if I keep doing what I'm doing, it'll be quicker than not."
Sale has not pitched for the Red Sox since September of 2019. Rehab hasn't been easy, but he's optimistic the end is getting closer.
"It's definitely a grind, as mental as it physical. Hopefully I'm on the back end of this now," Sale said. "It's not a fun process. I've learned a lot about myself and my body and pitching and all that stuff. I definitely wouldn't want to do that again."