Chris Sale turned his computer camera around Thursday morning.
He was sitting outside the clubhouse at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., and wanted to show his new setup to reporters he was speaking with on Zoom. Because of safety protocols, the Red Sox ace isn’t allowed inside any enclosed areas at the facility, so everything has been moved outside, near the batting cage.
Yes, everything. The weight room, the training room, his locker. His shower is a water hose.
“The water is cold,” he said.
For Sale, this is the longest he’s been cold — or let’s just say on ice — since he was 3 years old. The pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery on his left arm in March, sidelining him for at least the 2020 season.
All of his workouts are meticulously planned. He hasn’t been allowed to throw off a mound yet; that is just around the corner.
“I think right now, it’s late August or early September is the target date,” Sale said. “I’m doing the rehab process, some weight training, some physical therapy, some soft-tissue stuff.
“Everything has gone very well up until now. Once I start throwing, that’s when I think the bigger jumps come, and that’s when it’s more fun for me anyway.”
The last time Sale walked off a mound was exactly a year ago Thursday — Aug. 13, 2019. He struck out 12 batters in 6⅔ innings that day, helping the Red Sox to a 7-6 win over the Indians in Cleveland.
The next day, he flew to Florida to meet with Dr. James Andrews about soreness in his left elbow.
Instead of immediately getting the Tommy John surgery, Sale experimented with a platelet-rich plasma injection, which ultimately didn’t work. He doesn’t question the decision to go in that direction.
“Last year, in hindsight, I probably should have gotten Tommy John surgery on Aug. 14 of 2019,” he said. “But that’s not how this game goes. That’s not how life works.
“I swear to you, I promise to you, on everything I love, I thought I was in the clear. I was throwing as hard as I could. I was snapping off breaking balls. I wouldn’t change any of that, because I would have more questions now if I didn’t [try to pitch].”
Instead, Sale has been sidelined as he recovers. He’s had more time at home with his children. He has kept up with the Red Sox, but watching games is a mixed bag because he wants to be playing.
In all of this, Sale said, he’s trying to find a silver lining — that he’s able to hone his craft more and see how he can rebuild himself for a second act once he does return.
“That’s kind of the beauty of all of this, is that I can really focus on everything,” he said. “From my ankle stability to my knees, to my hips, back, and all the way up.
“We’re working from the kinetic chain. We have so much time. That’s a good and a bad thing. The bad thing is I’m itching to get back out there. The good thing is, we can really take the time to break everything down and really see where the problem was. Obviously I had a bad elbow, but it stems from other things.”
Bogaerts gets day off
Xander Bogaerts had the day off Thursday. He’s dealing with fatigue in his lower half. Manager Ron Roenicke said he expects Bogaerts to be in the lineup Friday against the Yankees ... Jose Peraza took a comebacker off the knee while pitching the ninth inning Thursday. Roenicke said Pereza is OK but won’t be in the lineup Friday … Josh Taylor could rejoin the team during the trip to New York. Darwinzon Hernandez will join the team sometime after Taylor. Both missed most of summer camp after testing positive for COVID-19 ... The Red Sox will open up the Yankees series with a bullpen game, followed by Nate Eovaldi for Saturday. Martin Perez will start for Boston on Monday, but Sunday’s starter is still to be determined. The Yankee starters for the series will be Gerrit Cole, James Paxton, J.A. Happ, and Jordan Montgomery ... The Red Sox claimed infielder Christian Arroyo off waivers from the Indians. He will join the team in New York.