Giancarlo Stanton expects to begin minor league rehab assignment Wednesday

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There may still be a reason to pay attention the Marlins over the final two months of the season, as Giancarlo Stanton’s return from right knee surgery is just around the corner.

According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, Stanton expects to begin a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday with High-A Jupiter.

Stanton underwent surgery on July 8 to remove loose bone and cartilage fragments from his right knee. He believes he’ll need about four or five rehab games in anticipation of a possible return on August 10 against the Dodgers when the Marlins begin a six-game homestand.

Stanton, 22, is hitting .284/.364/.554 with 19 home runs, 50 RBI and a .919 OPS in 80 games this season. The Marlins are 4-11 since his last game on July 7 and have traded Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante during his absence. We could see more deals before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

Chris Sale to start the season in the injured list

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Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said this morning that Chris Sale won’t be ready for the start of the season. He’ll begin the year on the injured list.

The reason is not, Roenicke says, his rehabbed elbow directly. It’s that he’s been sidelined with pneumonia and is thus a couple of weeks behind in his preparation. Roenicke, as paraphrased by Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe, said that it was “unfair” to give sale “just four starts” this spring.

Which, as Rotoworld’s Matthew Pouliot observes, is kind of strange because Sale’s last four spring trainings have consisted of three, five, four and two starts, respectively, yet he has been deemed ready to go each year. Pouliot also notes that, if he was truly only a couple of weeks behind, as Roenicke says, he’d be ramped up to about four innings per outing or so by the time the bell rings as opposed to six, maybe, and that that’s not an unusual level of stamina for a starter in this day and age given the changes in bullpen usage. Ideal for Sale? Maybe not, but not the sort of thing one would expect to result in an IL stint to start the year.

An overabundance of caution informed by the fact that, well, the Red Sox aren’t intending to compete this year? A change in philosophy under the Red Sox’ interim new manager? Or is there something going on with Sale’s health at the moment?