HOUSTON — Chris Sale, who spent Sunday night at Massachusetts General Hospital with a stomach ailment, rejoined the Red Sox at Minute Maid Park before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Tuesday afternoon and was introduced with his teammates.
Rick Porcello said the players were worried about Sale until they had a chance to talk to him.
“None of us really know what happened,” Porcello said. “We know he’s OK, and that’s the most important thing.
“It’s crazy to say, because these are some of the biggest baseball games of our lives. But somebody goes to the hospital, who really cares about what game he’s starting or anything like that? We just are worried about him and his well-being.”
But once Porcello and several other players had a chance to talk to Sale, they felt better.
“Now that we know that he’s OK, when the hell is he going to pitch?” Porcello said.
That remains uncertain.
Sale, if capable, would start Game 5 on Thursday. The team is preparing alternatives, most likely Eduardo Rodriguez and a healthy dose of relievers.
“We’re thinking about it, yeah,” manager Alex Cora said. “We still think that [Sale] can do it. But obviously we have to wait. This is more than us. It’s about him and how he feels. I’m not going to put him in a situation where he gets hurt because he’s not ready to pitch.”
It remains unclear why Sale got sick.
“It’s just his stomach,” Cora said. “He was throwing up at night. He decided to go [to the hospital]. They did all the tests, and everything’s fine. . . . Hopefully it’s just an episode.”
Back to the mound
Porcello has been a pitcher this postseason. Not a starter or a reliever, just a pitcher and a very effective one.
The righthander has appeared in three games, once as a starter and twice in the eighth inning as a reliever. He has allowed one run over 6⅔ innings.
Porcello will start Game 4 on Wednesday night against Charlie Morton. He feels fine physically after working a scoreless eighth inning on Sunday.
“He’s been great for us,” teammate Matt Barnes said, before the Red Sox beat the Astros, 8-2, in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. “He gets me fired up watching him.”
Porcello faced the Astros twice during the regular season and allowed six earned runs over 12 innings. His best start was at Minute Maid Park on June 3, when he gave up two runs over 6⅓ innings.
“I think it’s very similar to Fenway,” Porcello said. “The more you can keep the ball on the ground, the better off you are. That’s easier said than done.
“With traffic on the bases, you’ve got to work really hard to keep their guys off balance. They do a really nice job of putting pressure on you, and then they have a lot of guys that have power that can run into pitches that you leave in the middle of the zone, especially with runners on base.”
Twins consider Febles
Third base coach Carlos Febles interviewed by phone for the Twins managerial vacancy, according to multiple major league sources.
The 42-year-old Febles, who is in his first year on a major league coaching staff, spent 11 years as a minor league coach and manager in the organization. He also serves as the team’s infield coach.
Febles played parts of six seasons in the majors with the Royals.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski would not confirm or deny the Twins requested permission to talk to Febles. He did, however, make clear that he views Febles as a strong candidate for managing opportunities.
“You never would stand in people’s way,” Dombrowski said. “Carlos is a tremendous baseball man. I think he’s going to be a big league manager someday.”
Moreland to start?
Mitch Moreland was out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight game as he recovers from a strained right hamstring. “He’s doing better, a lot better,” Cora said. He did pinch-hit in the Red Sox’ five-run eighth, getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Moreland had a pinch-hit single in Game 2, and slow-footed Sandy Leon ran for him. Cora joked that Moreland’s feelings were hurt. Leon ran for Moreland again Tuesday night. Moreland could start in Game 4 on Wednesday . . . David Price is one of three finalists for the American League Comeback Player of the Year as selected by the MLB Players Association. Edwin Jackson and Michael Brantley are the others. Price appeared in only 16 games last season because of an elbow injury but this season was 16-7 with a 3.58 ERA in 30 starts . . . Former Astros star Lance Berkman threw out the first pitch . . . Rockets players Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony had seats near the Red Sox dugout.