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Red Sox ace Chris Sale (rib stress fracture) to miss opener again

Syndication: The News-Press

Chris Sale, a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox speaks to the media at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. The star pitcher and product of FGCU announced he has a stress fracture in a rib. Sale063

Andrew West/The News-Press / USA TODAY NETWORK

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has a stress fracture in his rib cage and will miss the start of the season.

Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said that Sale had the problem when he reported to the team’s spring training complex at the end of the lockout.

“He’s not throwing, basically, at this point,” Bloom said. “We’re talking weeks, not days, until we can get a baseball in his hands.”

A seven-time All-Star, Sale spent all of 2020 and the first 4+ months of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He made five starts in 2021 before testing positive for COVID-19 a second time.

He went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA in nine starts, and also made three starts in the postseason, including a loss in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series against Houston.

The injury means Sale, who said he remains unvaccinated, probably will avoid the uncomfortable position of sitting out the Red Sox series in Toronto April 25-28. Canada requires a player to be fully vaccinated to enter the country.