NEW YORK — The Red Sox transferred Chris Sale to the 60-day injured list Friday with a stress reaction in his shoulder blade. The team said the injury will not require surgery, with rest and rehab instead ahead for the lefthander.
The club will reevaluate Sale in three or four weeks before determining the next steps.
“Obviously, it’s not perfect,” manager Alex Cora said prior to the Sox’ 3-2 win over the Yankees. “But we know it’s no surgical procedure. And that’s huge for us.”
Sale, 34, was placed on the 15-day IL list on June 2 with left shoulder inflammation after exiting his start against the Reds at Fenway Park a day prior.
Through 11 starts, his record stands at 5-2 with a 4.58 ERA. He has 71 strikeouts in 59 innings.
Major — and minor — injuries have plagued Sale in recent years, beginning in August of 2019 when he hit the IL and ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery, forcing him to miss the 2020 season and much of 2021. He also missed the beginning of the 2022 season with an illness. When he came back, he took a line drive off the hand and suffered a broken finger, then broke a wrist in a bicycle accident.
Despite optimism from Cora and the Sox, there is still reason for the club to be concerned given Sale’s injury history. And, for what it’s worth, often-injured Rangers starter Jacob deGrom missed four months last season with the same injury while still with the Mets.
Four months on the IL for Sale would mean he would be out for the remainder of the season.
“We always have concerns, but obviously, the hope is for him to go to rehab and be ready to pitch at one point this season,” Cora said. “Obviously I cannot give you a day, whatever [of when he might return]. We’ve been through this in the past before with him. We had to be patient with him and grind with him. We’ll do the same thing again and hopefully he can perform this season again for us.”
Duvall returns to lineup
The Sale news came with a number of roster moves, including the reinstatement of Adam Duvall, who was on the injured list for much of the season after fracturing his right wrist during the Sox’ series with the Tigers back in April. Prior to the injury, Duvall was the team’s hottest hitter, batting .455 (15-for-33) with five doubles, one triple, four home runs, 11 runs scored, and 14 RBIs.
Duvall played eight games, all as the Sox’ center fielder, before getting hurt while trying to make a catch in Detroit. He was back in center Friday and went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and a walk as the No. 5 hitter.
“It helps to have a righthanded hitter that can hit behind Raffy and create a little bit of balance,” Cora said. “He hits the ball out of the ballpark. He’s a good defender. Happy to have him back.”
Jarren Duran filled in for Duvall, batting .278/.335/.432 with a .767 OPS and three homers. Duran will move to a bench role, but Cora said the team will find a way to still get the lefthanded hitter at-bats.
Cora’s not leaving for Miami
After former big league manager Joe Girardi was offered, but ultimately rejected, the opportunity to be the head coach at University of Central Florida, rumors swirled when it came to the Sox manager and the open job at the University of Miami. Could Cora, in fact, leave the Red Sox gig and return to his alma mater, but as their head coach?
“Right now where I’m at, you know, if my name was being considered, I’ll take my name out of the hat,” Cora said.
Cora added that he would like to see Hurricanes pitching coach J.D. Arteaga, who has been on the Miami staff since 2003, get the position.
Valdez leaves for Worcester
Enmanuel Valdez was optioned to Triple A Worcester following Thursday night’s loss at Cleveland. He hit .234 with a .684 OPS in 101 plate appearances after getting off to a hot start, holding a .311 batting average through his first 15 big league games.
Where Valdez really needs work is on the defensive side. He was a minus 5 in defensive runs saved at second base and committed six errors at the position.
“They’re going to have to work a lot in certain areas [defensively],” Cora said. “I think catching the ball is good but moving side to side, that’s something that we have to be better at. The first step has to be better.”
Chang sore after swing
Infielder Yu Chang (left hamate bone surgery) felt sore on Friday stemming from a swing during a Triple A rehab game the previous day. The team will monitor his progress before he resumes play . . . The Sox selected the contract of lefthanded reliever Joe Jacques from Worcester. Jacques, 28, grew up in New Jersey and attended Manhattan College where he walked on the club. He was a 33rd round draft pick of the Pirates in 2018 and expected roughly 100 family members in attendance Friday but did not make his major league debut.