Red Sox say Chris Sale is fine, will be handled differently in 2019
So how is Chris Sale feeling? Fine, say the Red Sox. But that’s all they’re willing to say per his instructions.
The All-Star lefthander appeared in only five games over the final 65 days of the regular season, his availability limited by a sore shoulder.
He had a setback with his shoulder in August then was hospitalized with what the team said was a stomach ailment after Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
Sale returned to pitch in the World Series, but only for five innings over two games.
Now, six weeks later, the Sox still don’t have much to offer other than that Sale is throwing and feels fine. He’s fully cleared, they say.
But president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was oddly vague when asked Monday if the team had a better idea of what Sale was dealing with.
“Yes, we have. We have a pulse of it,” Dombrowski said. “But I’m really not going to discuss it.”
That suggests an injury beyond the “inflammation” the Sox said twice put Sale on the disabled list. But Sale has directed the team not to provide details about his health.
“He’s not one that likes to share a bunch of information,” Dombrowski said. “That’s just the way it is. But we feel very comfortable where he is and he just wants to kind of keep it between us.”
The lack of information, particularly when compared with other players, is suspicious, particularly with Sale entering his free agent season.
“That’s OK if that’s how you feel. I don’t have any problem that you feel that way. But we feel very comfortable with it,” Dombrowski said. “We think he’s fine and I will tell you I would not lie to you.
“That’s his desire. That’s just the way it is . . . other guys don’t feel quite the same way. But that’s how he is.”
Sale will be handled differently next season as a result of his situation.
“I don’t know as far as usage is concerned. It’s just maybe the way some things are approached. With us; by him,” Dombrowski said. “I’m really not going to get too specific. I can’t really say much more.”
Said manager Alex Cora: “We know what we have. We know what we’re going to do next year.”
Dombrowski indicated Sale may have come back from his first stint on the DL too quickly and threw too hard when he did. After initially missing 15 days, Sale pitched one game, then was out 29 additional days.
No second thoughts
The Red Sox won’t know until next month if Dustin Pedroia is an option to play second base. That is when he will start a running program, the first step to determine whether his left knee is sound.
But with Brock Holt, Tzu-Wei Lin, and Eduardo Nunez on the roster, Dombrowski said any additions would likely be players signed to a minor-league contract.
The Sox have had discussions with trading one of their three catchers. They would prefer to start the season with two.
“We’ve had interest in our guys,” Dombrowski said. “It’s hard to carry all three on the big league club. None of them have [minor league] options left. But we’re also not going to just give them away.”
Reds claim Scott
The Cincinnati Reds claimed lefthanded reliever Robby Scott off waivers. The Sox now have 39 players on the 40-man roster.
Scott, 29, appeared in only nine games last season, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits and five walks. He had a 1.86 ERA in 45 games for Triple A Pawtucket.
Scott pitched in 57 games in 2017, but he fell out of favor last season, the Sox deciding they did not need a lefthanded specialist in the bullpen.
The Sox, who likely were hoping to sneak Scott through waivers rather than trade him, received $50,000 from the Reds.
Tickets on sale
Single-game tickets for select April, May, and September games, along with nine Sox Pax, will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available at redsox.com or calling (877) RED-SOX9.
Sox Pax are three-game or four-game packages with different game and seat options.
Sunday night stars
ESPN has picked up five Red Sox games for “Sunday Night Baseball”: June 2 at the Yankees, July 14 vs. the Dodgers, July 28 vs. the Yankees, Aug. 4 at the Yankees, and Sept. 8 vs. the Yankees. All of the games are 7:10 p.m. starts, with the exception of Sept. 8, which will be at 8:10 p.m . . . Jackie Bradley Jr. and CC Sabathia will represent the Red Sox and Yankees in London later this week to promote the two-game series between the teams at Olympic Stadium June 29-30. Bradley will watch the Liverpool-Manchester United Game on Sunday at Anfield . . . Brian Johnson, Bobby Poyner, and Sam Travis will represent the team during the annual Holiday Caravan this week. They will visit hospitals in the area . . . With Allard Baird and Jared Banner jumping to the Mets, the Sox have reconfigured their professional and international scouting departments. Brad Sloane, a special assignment scout, will take on more major league coverage. Marcus Cuellar will scout international professionals and amateurs. Brett Ward, who scouted amateurs in Asia and the Pacific Rim, will now coordinate scouting in that region. Harrison Slutsky was promoted to director of professional scouting . . . Fenway Sports Management named Mark Lev as president. He previously held the title of managing director.