Chris Sale threw a 25-pitch bullpen session in the Red Sox bullpen before Tuesday’s game, and then was later spotted throwing off of the mound on the field before Friday’s series opener between the Red Sox and Blue Jays.
“We need to try and not get too excited – it was that good.” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “The energy – the quality of the pitches – the tempo – he looked really good, really good.”
Sale underwent Tommy John Surgery which forced him to miss the abysmal 2020 season, and has made many bits of progress recently. Sale is getting closer and closer to returning to pitch for the Red Sox.
“He said that’s the best he’s felt throughout the process,” Cora later said. “Having his peers around him means a lot to him, and I think pitching on that mound means a lot (to him). Obviously, with technology, it helps us a lot with information – but being on a big-league mound, being a big-league player, that means a lot to him. He doesn’t take that for granted.”
As noted by the Providence Journal’s Bill Koch, the last time Sale threw off the Fenway Park mound was in 2019, where he tossed eight shutout innings in August.
Alex Cora announced before Thursday night’s contest between the Astros and Red Sox that Hirokazu Sawamura was dealing with some hip soreness and that IL time might be necessary.
“We’re not sure yet,” said when he was asked if Sawamura is going to be placed on the IL before Thursday night’s matchup. “We have to pay attention to his situation. He’s been down the last few, but he complained about it in the last outing. And he’s been getting treatment, but we have to know if he’s going to be available tonight, tomorrow, or when he’s going to be available.”
But Sawamura was okay, and he was available last night if the Red Sox were to need him as he seemed to have handled the treatment well.
“He’s a full-go,” Cora remarked about Sawamura’s availability Friday night. “He was available yesterday (Thursday) but obviously the smart move was to give him one more day.”
The 33-year old Japanese hurler holds a 2.63 ERA this season in 22 appearances, and 24 innings. He’s struck out 33 batters to go along with just his 21 hits, seven runs, and 11 walks issued. Despite his 4.81 expected ERA, he does have a 3.22 skill-interactive ERA along with being in the 85th percentile of the Major Leagues in strikeout percentage, fanning batters at an astonishing rate 31.4%.