By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox will have their ace back on the hill as the team starts its final homestand of the season. Chris Sale will toe the rubber against the Orioles on Friday night.

Sale hasn’t pitched since Sept. 6, after he was placed on the COVID list on Sept. 10 after testing positive for the virus. He had to miss a minimum of 10 days under MLB protocols.

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Now he’s set to return to the rotation at a great time for the Red Sox, as the team is in a virtual tie with the Toronto Blue Jays for the top Wild Card spot in the American League, with the New York Yankees just 0.5 games back of the other Wild Card spot. Boston is at home for the next eight games, with three games against the Orioles, two against the New York Mets and three against the Yankees.

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Boston manager Alex Cora said that Sale will not be on a pitch count or limit on Friday night, and that the lefty is OK to pitch on four days rest going forward.

Sale missed the entire 2020 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, and did not rejoin the Boston rotation until Aug. 14. He has made five starts since returning, going 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA while striking out 30 batters over 25 innings of work.

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After Sale starts Friday, Nick Pivetta will be on the hill for Boston on Saturday, followed by Nathan Eovaldi in Sunday’s series finale. Eduardo Rodriguez will start Tuesday when Boston begins its two-game set with the Mets.

CBSBoston.com Staff