BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox got some good news on Chris Sale’s sore left elbow. However, there is some concern that the good news is only temporary.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Sale is not expected to undergo Tommy John surgery. At least not at this point. That last part of the report certainly carries an ominous feel to it, but the Red Sox did provide an update on Sale Thursday morning.
Sale has a flexor strain in his left elbow, interim manager Ron Roenicke told reporters down in Fort Myers, Florida. The lefty will not throw for another week and then start his spring over again.
Sale was already going to get a late start to the 2020 season after dealing with the flu and pneumonia, but then he experienced pain in his left elbow on Sunday, after he faced live batters for the first time in over six months. He underwent an MRI on Monday, which was reviewed by Red Sox team doctors and then sent to famed orthopedists Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
Those three medical minds agree that Sale doesn’t need Tommy John at this point, but that concern will linger until Sale proves he can stay healthy. He hasn’t been able to do the last two seasons, with his 2019 season ending in August when Sale had a PRP injection into his elbow.
Sale was pretty upset about the news on Thursday, feeling that he has let his team down each of the last two seasons.
“There is optimism to be had, and I’m thankful for that. But I know the situation we’re in right now — it’s not fun,” Sale said Thursday. “There is an expectation level that our fans, my team, you guys and myself hold me to. I haven’t met that. I haven’t.
“This is about as tough a situation as I’ve ever been in,” he continued. “I was able to get through most of my career doing what I love to do and helping my team win. Over the last year and up to this point, I’ve done nothing but fall flat on my face. It’s a gut punch and a tough realization. But I’ve said it time and time again that I have no time to hang my head or sit in the corner and pout. I have work to do and an uphill battle to climb. But I’ve got my climbing shoes on so I’ll be ready to roll, no matter which way we go.”
Sale said the pain he felt over the weekend is the same pain he felt last season, so he got nervous and immediately alerted the team. He acknowledged that Tommy John surgery is still on the table if rest isn’t the answer, but he won’t know until he picks up a baseball again.
“I can’t read the future. All I can do is work my ass off to get back out there as soon as possible,” he said. “To get back to doing what I’m supposed to do, what this team needs me to do, and what I’m expected to do.”
Sale will take part in defensive drills on Thursday, according to the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham, but it remains unclear when he’ll toe the rubber for Boston in 2020, the first year of the five-year, $145-million extension he signed with the team last spring.
Because of that commitment the team made to him last spring, Sale feels like he’s letting the team down in a big way.
“I don’t think I’ve ever let anybody down this hard, ever. And that sucks,” he said. “Someone gives you something because they believe in you, they expect something from you and you don’t live up to that.”