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Chris Sale progressing, but Nate Eovaldi stuck on the sidelines

Rafael Devers got back to first on an attempted pickoff on Tuesday, then took his usual moment to himself on the ground.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Chris Sale is getting closer. After making his first rehab appearance Sunday, tossing 22 pitches in an inning in the Florida Complex League, Sale is set to make his next FCL start Saturday.

The report on Sale’s last start, where he allowed an earned run on one hit and a walk, was a promising one. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Sale was up to 96 miles per hour, flashing a good slider and changeup.

“He said that he was a little bit off as far as, like, command, but, mechanically, felt good and today he moved around well,” Cora said before Tuesday’s 5-4 victory over the Tigers. “So, let’s get ready for the next one.


The news on Nate Eovaldi was less positive, relatively. Initially thinking he wouldn’t need an injured list stint to deal with a right hip issue, Eovaldi went on the 15-day IL (retroactive to June 9) with lower back inflammation. Progress since has been slow, with Eovaldi not doing anything baseball related.

“We thought it was going to be quicker, but he hasn’t reacted the way we expected,” Cora said. “We want him 100 percent. We don’t want him out there limping. We have the luxury of playing it slow and making sure that he’s OK.”

Kiké Hernández taking it slow

Kiké Hernández’s recovery from his right hip flexor strain has been off and on. Hernández went on the injured list back on June 8, but still felt some pain in that hip while swinging the bat Sunday.

“We’ll stay away from baseball activities [Tuesday] and see how he reacts,” Cora said. “It’s been on and off with him kind of like moving around, running, playing defense. But Sunday, he took a few swings and he felt it, so he stopped. Being smart. So just take it day by day.”


Kiké Hernández remains sidelined because of hip issues.Maddie Meyer/Getty

The Sox have been able to weather the storm without Hernández, who was hitting just .209 in 215 plate appearances. In his absence, the Sox have won four straight series, using a platoon of Rob Refsnyder and Jarren Duran.

Refsnyder, who hits righty, has handled much of the action in center when there’s a lefthander on the mound, and Duran, who hits lefty, gets the nod most of the time against righties. Both have been productive, with Duran off to a 10 for 33 start (.303) start and Refsnyder at 9 for 23 (.394) while also making some stellar plays on defense.

This is not to say the Sox don’t need Hernández, who has been a plus in center this year. Duran, meanwhile, remains a work in progress.

“He’s been working hard with [bench coach] Will Venable,” Cora said. “Sometimes you see Kiké and Jackie [Bradley Jr.] and their jumps, but they’re elite. That’s something as a manager you have to remember. Those two guys are above everybody else.”

Cora feels Duran has made some defensive improvements.

“He’s made good decisions, something he didn’t do last year as far as throwing the ball, you know, to the base that he had to,” Cora said. “Not diving or whatever in situations that he doesn’t have to, so so far, so good.”

Building back up

Christian Arroyo (COVID) hit leadoff in the designated hitter’s spot in the WooSox’ 5-0 win over Charlotte. Arroyo will play shortstop Wednesday, and will likely rejoin the Red Sox during their trip to Cleveland . . . Josh Taylor (back strain) needed just seven pitches to complete the first inning, getting a lineout and two routine grounders, including one from rehabbing White Sox Eloy Jiménez. Brayan Bello followed with seven shutout innings. He allowed five hits while striking out seven, giving him 57 K’s in 40⅓ innings . . . Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) threw a simulated game Tuesday and came out of the session feeling good, Cora said. His next step is still to be determined . . . Major League Baseball released its first voting update for the All-Star Game. Rafael Devers leads all American League third basemen with 727,669 votes, with both shortstop Xander Bogaerts and DH J.D. Martinez third at their positions. The Yankees’ Aaron Judge is the leader for both leagues (1,512,368), just ahead of Mookie Betts (1,446,050) . . . Both Bogaerts and Devers will likely receive a day off Wednesday, with Jeter Downs to make his big-league debut at shortstop and Bobby Dalbec to play third base . . . James Paxton (Tommy John) threw a 25-pitch bullpen.


Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.