Chris Sale injury update: Red Sox ace not expected to get Tommy John surgery, report says

Chris Sale is dealing with an elbow issue for the second season in a row. However, the Red Sox ace is not expected to undergo Tommy John surgery “at this point,” according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Sale got an MRI earlier this week after dealing with elbow soreness in spring training, and the Red Sox sought multiple medical opinions on Sale’s throwing arm, including one from Dr. James Andrews.

The team did not provide an update on Sale on Wednesday evening, as interim manager Ron Roenicke said the team wanted to formulate a plan before disclosing it publicly.

“We want to make sure that we get everybody’s opinion on this,” Roenicke told MLB.com. “We need to get this right and it’s a very important player and we want to do things the right way and get as many opinions as we can. Don’t read into this that this is the worst-case scenario and that’s why we’re getting these opinions. We want to make sure we’re right in what we do and as many opinions as we can get.”

Sale, 30, also battled elbow issues in 2019 en route to a career-worst season where he went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA. He experienced the discomfort after his first live batting practice session of the spring. 

Sale, whose five-year, $145 million extension starts this season, was already expected to miss Opening Day after the start of his spring training was delayed due to pneumonia. The southpaw’s elbow issue is a much greater concern. 

Sale’s timeline to return to the mound is unclear, but Tommy John surgery would’ve ended his 2020 season before it began. Still, he could very well miss weeks or months of the season, leaving the Red Sox with this starting rotation:

  1. Eduardo Rodriguez
  2. Nathan Eovaldi
  3. Martin Perez
  4. Ryan Weber
  5. Hector Velazquez

Needless to say, that doesn’t look too sturdy for a team that won 108 games and the World Series just two seasons ago. 

SportsLine projects the Red Sox to go 88-74 this season, good for third place in the AL East but short of a playoff spot. That’s with Sale. Their playoff odds currently sit at 37.4 percent. Losing Sale for the season would cost them 4.2 percent from that figure, SportsLine projects. 

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