After serving a five-week stint on the disabled list, Red Sox southpaw Chris Sale is finally ready to take the mound again. He’s tabbed to start for the club during Tuesday’s series opener against the Blue Jays and will be limited to a maximum 40 pitches across the first two innings, manager Alex Cora told reporters Friday. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is currently scheduled to follow Sale on Tuesday and will pitch several innings of relief.
From there, Sale is expected to take on an additional inning per start as he ramps up to a full workload again, with the eventual goal of tossing 6-7 innings and around 100 pitches. The 29-year-old lefty has struggled to overcome a recurring case of mild inflammation in his left shoulder and hasn’t pitched more than five innings at the major league level since the end of July. That’s not to say he’s struggled to deliver results: During his last start, a 4-1 win over the Orioles on August 12, he threw 68 pitches over five scoreless, one-hit innings and whiffed 12 of 16 batters faced.
Prior to his diagnosis, Sale collected his seventh straight All-Star nomination after pitching to an 11-4 record in 22 starts with a 2.04 ERA, 2.1 BB/9, and 13.2 SO/9 through 141 innings. Following his pristine start in mid-August, he bumped his ERA down to a cool 1.97, second-lowest in the league behind the Mets’ Jacob deGrom.