BOSTON (CBS) — Chris Sale is getting ready to take another big and important step in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. The Red Sox lefty will face hitters Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park ahead of Boston’s game against the New York Yankees.

It will mark the first time that Sale faces live batters since spring training in 2020. It’s another huge step in the process for the 32-year-old, who has ramped up his rehab over the last six weeks.

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On Tuesday, Sale threw 45 pitches at Hadlock Field in Portland, with hitters standing in but not swinging at what the lefty had to offer.

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“I felt good. Each time I get on the mound it’s exciting because it was taken away for a long time,” Sale said after Tuesday’s session. “There was a lot of work to get out there. I’m appreciative of the time I get to go out there and it’s fun being around the guys and being able to do it here. Being on the big mound makes it fun.”

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Sale will likely have to face live batters a number of times, and likely toss a few simulated games, before heading out on a rehab assignment in the minors. He also said recently that he was willing to come out of the Boston bullpen as he works his way back into starter form, but the team has not revealed their plans for the final stages of Sale’s comeback just yet.