BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox did not add to their starting rotation before the trade deadline last week, but they’re still in store to get a potentially massive boost soon in the return of Chris Sale.

The left-hander continued his road on his rehab on Saturday, when he pitched five innings for the Triple-A Worcester Red Sox. He allowed five hits and a walk while striking out seven batters and allowing just one run, earning the victory. He’s now allowed three runs in 15.1 innings of rehab work across three levels of the minors.

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While Saturday was his longest outing yet, he’s still not quite ready to return to the big leagues. The veteran big leaguer will hop on the WooSox bus and pitch in Scranton later this week. After that, he may be ready to return to the majors.

“We’ll address the situation after that, but he’s getting close,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said on Sunday. “He felt like it was a regular start. There was no limits,” Cora said. “[Sunday] he felt great. So he’ll get on the bus, he’ll pitch, and then we’ll see where it takes us. But he’s getting close.”

Sale said after his start on Saturday that he’s feeling healthy and is more focused on working on his pitches and performance than the physical hurdles he’s had to clear throughout his road to recovery from Tommy John surgery.

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If Sale does return after his next rehab start, he could be in line to pitch against the Rays at Fenway Park during the series from Aug. 10-12. If he does make one more rehab start, it’ll put him in line to return either on Sunday, Aug. 15, against the Orioles, or on Tuesday, Aug. 17, in Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox and Yankees play a double-header that day.

CBSBoston.com Staff