White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told Jim Bowden of XM Radio that Chris Sale will undergo an MRI exam on his sore left elbow.
Last week the White Sox cut short Sale’s transition to the rotation and moved him back to the bullpen as their new closer, with manager Robin Ventura saying he’d fill the ninth-inning role for the remainder of the season.
Sale made his first relief appearance of the season last night and blew his first save, although it was in the eighth inning and he entered the game with two runners on base and no outs.
Meanwhile, Cooper has indicated that Sale’s move to the bullpen is less set in stone than Ventura claims and Sale himself has repeatedly made it very clear that he’d rather be starting.
He reiterated that desire yesterday, telling Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times:
Starting is something I hope I can get back into. We’ve been kind of talking back and forth. There’s a possibility of it. Not ruling it out is the best way to say it.
Part of the issue is that Sale has had a sore arm and there are questions about his mechanics potentially making him likely to break down as a starter, but he went 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA and 29/8 K/BB ratio in five starts before the White Sox made the switch.
Toss in the fact that rookie Addison Reed looks more than capable of becoming the White Sox’s long-term answer at closer and giving Sale the opportunity to show that he can thrive as a full-time starter makes too much sense not to happen again eventually. Assuming, of course, that he doesn’t already have a major elbow injury.
Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.
With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.
The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.
The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.
Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.
It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.