Chris Sale is set to take another step toward his return to the Boston Red Sox rotation.
Prior to Tuesday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, manager Alex Cora revealed Sale is ready to face hitters for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2020. The southpaw will do so Saturday at Fenway Park.
"The next step is for him to face hitters on Saturday," Cora said. "So far, so good. He's in a good position. He feels great. I'll get the feedback probably later on. I'll talk to him tomorrow morning and we'll keep moving forward."
It's the latest bit of encouraging news regarding the Red Sox ace, who said he "felt great" after a bullpen session Friday at Triple-A Worcester. If Sale continues on this trajectory, he'll likely begin his rehab assignment with the WooSox sometime in July.
The Red Sox will be waiting for Sale's return with bated breath. So far in June, Boston's rotation owns a less-than-stellar 4.93 ERA. A healthy Sale could be the difference between earning first place in the American League East and having to fight for a wild card spot.