Chris Sale went on the injured list before Saturday’s Red Sox game against the Baltimore Orioles with inflammation in his pitching elbow, something which figures to only amplify the concerns about the 30-year-old’s durability.
Sale last pitched on Tuesday, striking out 12 Cleveland Indians and breaking Pedro Martinez’s record for the fastest to 2,000 strikeouts in a 7-6, 10-inning victory. The lefty went 6⅔ innings, just the seventh time in 25 starts this season he recorded an out in the seventh, his fastball twice touching 98 m.p.h. and averaging 94.
Sale has a career-worst 4.40 ERA this season in 147⅓ innings, fanning a career-best and American League-leading 13.3 batters per nine. He signed a five-year, $145 million extension in March that begins next season. It will pay him $30 million in each of the next three years.
Ryan Brasier claimed Sale’s roster spot. The 31-year-old, a revelation in the bullpen last season, was demoted to Triple A on July 16 with a 4.24 ERA, allowing runs in three of his final four outings. He found his form in Pawtucket, allowing a lone earned run in 9⅓ innings and holding hitters to a .182 batting average.