BOSTON — Tuesday’s talk at Fenway Park shifted from a reliever to a pain reliever.
Red Sox lefty Chris Sale was put on the 10-day disabled list with mild inflammation in his throwing shoulder, news delivered in a surprise announcement less than two hours after the trade deadline passed. Any association between Sale and a health matter is a scary happening for Red Sox fans, but Sale was firm that the situation is minor.
He did not go for an MRI and is expected to miss just one start.
“If this was something more serious, I would tell you,” Sale said. “We’re not hiding anything. This is nothing that we’re worried about. This is a concern, at most. This isn’t something I deemed, or anybody thought was necessary to get an MRI. It’s just a little soreness, you know, in your pitching arm. …
“Take some Advil, get it rubbed down, ready to go.”
Sale said the soreness was "just general shoulder area” and not something he felt in game or that affected him in game. Sale said he's had soreness in the area before, just not to this extent.
“It was just a little bit more than I'm used to after a start,” Sale said. “It just kind of built up over the last couple outings.”
Brian Johnson is to start in Sale’s place on Thursday to begin a four-game set against the Yankees at Fenway Park, opposite CC Sabathia.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that Sale’s uptick in velocity is not suspected to be a contributing factor. Per Dombrowski, the team has considered the possibility that an altered slider grip this season has affected Sale, but Sale disagreed with that theory.
“I don't think it has anything to do with grips or mechanics or anything like that,” Sale said. “I'm a pitcher. Sometimes we have to deal with it. That being said, I feel like if we were in a different position and push came to shove and they needed to go out there I would be able to make this next start. I would be pitching in two days.”
Sale's slider has been moving more than ever and that's a product, in part, of utilizing more spin. Many pitchers only use 40-60 percent of the spin their pitches have, and changing the release point slightly can help.
Sale said he was ultimately in agreement with the choice to go to the disabled list.
“It’s not easy, I was pretty upset when the final decision was made,” Sale said. “At the end of the day though I’ve got to do what’s best for not only the team but myself. I don’t think me going out there not at 100 percent is going to help us. I think if I did go out there I’d probably risk something more severe, that wouldn’t do any good either. … It’s a pretty crappy situation to be in, and I don’t like it at all.”
Sale has been on the disabled list twice before, once in 2014 for a strained flexor muscle in his throwing arm, and in 2015, with a fractured right foot.
Sale's routine in between starts is intense and his dedication to his fitness is a large part of his success.