The Red Sox placed first baseman Steve Pearce on the 10-day injured list on Saturday after he left the game Friday night against the Yankees after his first at-bat with back spasms.
Sam Travis has been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Pearce's roster spot.
The Sox already have left-handed-hitting first baseman Mitch Moreland on the IL with back issues of his own and will likely move righty-hitting rookie Michael Chavis to first base. Travis is a right-handed hitter as well. Chavis at first would put right-handed hitting Eduardo Nunez or lefty-hitting Brock Holt at second.
Pearce, the 2018 World Series MVP, has struggled this season, hitting just .180 with one home run and nine RBI, but he has picked it up lately, hitting . 346 since May 19.
Travis went 2-for-7 in two previous games with Boston this season and was hitting .251 at Pawtucket, with three homers and 20 RBI (.327 with an .835 OPS vs. lefties).
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Chris Sale turned 31 on Monday. He also had Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow on that same day. The procedure will sideline him for at least the rest of the 2020 season and beyond.
But when exactly can we expect Sale back? Boston Red Sox chief of baseball operations, Chaim Bloom, wouldn't confirm to an exact date, but he did provide some insight into how long Sale might be sidelined.
"We don't know exactly," Bloom said, per Christopher Smith of MassLive.com. "Typically you see around that 14-15 month range."
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Okay, so maybe that's not the most specific answer, but it at least gives us a ballpark idea of when Sale could return.
A 14-15 month recovery period would have Sale return sometime between early June and early July in 2021, if his recovery goes well. Of course, there are so many variables to take into account about how Sale may be progressing but also about how the Sox may be faring. If they aren't doing well, the team could take an extremely cautious approach with Sale in hopes of having him fully healthy for the 2022 season.
But Bloom's estimate at least gives Sox fans an initial target for Sale's potential return. The target date will certainly be fluid especially considering that some pitchers take 18 months to return from the surgery.
But no matter what, Sale won't be suiting up for the Red Sox until mid-2021 at the earliest. And that's bad news for the squad considering their lack of starting pitching depth.
Chris Sale's long road to recovery from a pesky elbow injury began on Monday.
The Boston Red Sox officially announced that Sale underwent Tommy John surgery on Monday to reconstruct the UCL in his throwing arm. Noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the surgery.
The Red Sox and Sale decided that he would need to have the surgery about a week and a half ago. The coronavirus crisis made it a bit uncertain as to when Sale would be able to have the procedure done, but now, it is in the books.
Sale won't pitch at all in 2020 and it's likely that he will miss time in 2021 as well. In fact, he could miss that whole season given that a typical recovery from Tommy John surgery takes about 18 months.
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Either way, the Red Sox will be without Sale long-term and as a result, their starting rotation looks very thin. Eduardo Rodgriguez will slot in as the team's ace while Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez are the Nos. 2 and 3 starters respectively.
The other two rotation spots are up for grabs but before the league was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was assumed that Ryan Weber had the inside track for the fourth starter position. The fifth starter role was much less settled and the team may have used an opener strategy given their lack of starting pitching depth.
Without Sale, the Red Sox will likely have to rely a lot on their offense to carry them to victory moving forward. But we won't get a chance to see how they look until the MLB returns. And at this point in time, it's unclear when that may be.