The Boston Red Sox rotation has outperformed expectations so far this season. Still, it sure could use a healthy Chris Sale back in the mix.
The left-handed ace is inching closer to returning from Tommy John rehab. He's been throwing bullpen sessions and, if it were up to him, "he'd be starting tomorrow."
Unfortunately, Sox fans will have to wait a little while longer for Sale to make his anticipated return to the mound. However, Sale made it clear Tuesday that if it meant skipping rehab starts in the minor leagues and rejoining the big-league club sooner, he'd be willing to pitch out of the bullpen.
“Well I never thought about that, honestly,” Sale said, via ESPN. “Like if they told me, ‘Hey, we need a guy in the bullpen and we’ll build you up there instead of doing a rehab assignment,’ hell, I would be game for that.
"I mean, the quicker I can get back on this team I’d like that. But that is way above my paygrade and where I’m at right now. I’m focused on my next day and getting off the mound and then whatever the next step is, take that, but I haven’t really talked about that a whole lot.”
Whether it's as a starter or a reliever, Sale is confident he'll be back with the Red Sox in 2021.
"One hundred percent," he said. "Unless something crazy happens. I'll be there soon enough."
So far, the Red Sox pitching staff has been able to hold down the fort without its ace. But having a healthy Sale available in the rotation or out of the bullpen could provide the boost Boston needs to become a serious contender.