BOSTON (CBS) — Chris Sale is as extreme a competitor as they come. Yet against all odds, the left-hander is handling his temporary absence from baseball with aplomb.

Granted, he hasn’t had to actually miss any games yet, as MLB remains shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. But when it comes to turning the negative of Tommy John surgery into a positive, Sale is doing a rather impressive job.

“I’m done trying to figure out what’s wrong with me,” Sale told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. “It’s like ‘OK, this is the end of all the crap that you’ve gone through for a couple years.’ It’s like a new beginning for me. I wouldn’t be able to play baseball productively without this surgery. I’m a baseball player, what can be better than getting a brand-new elbow for my birthday?”

Sale went under the knife on his 31st birthday, and he looked at his repaired elbow as the greatest gift he could have possibly received.

“At the end of the day I’m gonna have like a brand-new elbow and I get to crank on this thing when I get ready to go and I’m gonna do the same thing that I did before,” Sale said.

As for whether or not his Red Sox teammates and the rest of MLB will actually get back to the field this year, Sale has no idea. But even with that situation, he’s managed to find a positive spin.

“I don’t know. There’s too many moving parts with all this right now. There’s obviously negotiations between the players and the owners, and that’s what I hope we can iron out sooner rather than later,” Sale said. “On my end of it, I’m not missing any games that everyone else isn’t missing. Plus, I’m not getting paid, so no one can call me an overpaid a–hole right now.”

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