BOSTON (CBS) — Chris Sale made his first Grapefruit League appearance on Friday, and looked every bit like the Red Sox’ ace.
The lefty threw all of his pitches and struck out five Marlins over four innings of work in his spring debut, surrendering one run off just two hits. His fastball hit 97 mph on the radar gun, with 41 of his 58 pitches going for strikes.
“It went well. We got the work in we were looking for,” Sale said after his outing. “Successful day.”
Only two of the 14 batters Sale faced reached base. He got two quick outs to start the game before Starlin Castro singled to right field. He struck out Justin Bour with a 96 mph fastball to end the first inning.
Sale struck out two batters in each of the second and third innings, and made Lewis Brinson look silly swinging at a nasty slider for his fifth and final punchout of the afternoon. Derek Dietrich tagged him for a double to open the fourth inning, and came around to score Miami’s only run after a pair of flyouts.
Sale got Tomas Telis to line out to center to end the fourth inning, bringing his first start of the spring to an end.
“I was mixing in all my pitches and felt like I had good command today. That’s a positive early in spring,” he said. “I like throwing strikes and I don’t want to give in; that was a big part of it too.”
Red Sox manager Alex Cora has yet to officially name an Opening Day starter, but with Sale going on Friday, the lefty lines up to start Boston’s season-opener against the Tampa Bay Rays on March 29.