BOSTON -- The Red Sox were confident that Chris Sale would return from his broken pinkie sometime this season. The lefty had begun throwing a baseball again and looked good at a Saturday throwing session at Boston College.
But hopes of a Sale return were dashed around lunchtime Saturday afternoon. After returning home from Chestnut Hill, the 33-year-old jumped on his bike to get some grub. He hit something while going down a hill and was thrown from his bike, fracturing his wrist.
Sale underwent surgery on the wrist on Monday. On Tuesday, the Red Sox announced that his 2022 season was officially over.
"You couldn't make this up, right?" Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said on a Tuesday morning Zoom chat with reporters to discuss the incident.
This is the latest injury in a long line of injuries for Sale going back to the 2018 season. It was shoulder inflammation that hampered him at the end of that season, causing him to miss a month of action and bounce between the rotation and bullpen during Boston's run to a World Series title. Sale's 2019 season ended in August with elbow inflammation, but it wasn't until the following March that he underwent Tommy John surgery, ending his 2020 campaign before it had a chance to start. (We'd be remiss not to mention the bout of pneumonia that delayed Sale's spring in 2020.)
After going under the knife, Sale didn't return to the Boston rotation until August of 2021. He made nine starts during the regular season and three more in the playoffs, and though he didn't look like the Sale of old, that was to be expected from a guy returning from Tommy John.
Unfortunately, 2022 has been all about broken bones for Chris Sale. He suffered a rib stress fracture ahead of spring training that delayed his season, and after a few setbacks, he finally made his debut on July 12. The return lasted all of two starts, as Sale broke his pinkie on a comebacker on July 17 at Yankee Stadium.
Bloom said Tuesday that the team was confident Sale would be back on the mound at some point this season, which makes this latest injury all the more frustrating for all parties involved.
"It stinks," said Bloom. "We're relieved this wasn't worse. It was a pretty rough spill and very glad this wasn't worse. But it's been such a run of bad luck for him and, obviously, us."
"I was like, come on," manager Alex Cora said ahead of Tuesday's game against the Braves. "It's disappointing in a sense that I talked to [head trainer] Brad [Pearson] about him playing catch and he looked really good. We were talking about scenarios; speeding him up and getting him into the bullpen. Then that happened."
Now the Red Sox will begin to look forward to next season with Sale, which has become a common practice with the southpaw. Bloom doesn't believe there will be any lingering effects from the fractured wrist in 2023, but the team is going to have to once again take into account the fact that Chris Sale is heading into a new year after yet another lost season.
"You look forward and he should be fine. I know we keep saying that and things keep happening, but this is an incredibly bizarre run of events," said Bloom. "He should be a full go next spring. We need to think of what that means as far as planning a full season, with him not carrying a workload the last few years.
"But other than that, there is no reason to not believe he'll be back and the Chris Sale that we know," added Bloom.
"He's in a good spot. He's not giving up," said Cora, who said he spoke with Sale about the injury. "But he's getting to a point where this is life. It's another obstacle in his career, but he'll be OK. He'll bounce back."
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