Red Sox ace Sale out for season with broken right wrist

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BOSTON — Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale broke his right wrist in a bike accident over the weekend and will miss the rest of the season, the team said, the latest setback during an injury-plagued three years for the Boston ace.

Sale had surgery and is expected to be ready for the start of spring training next year.

“You couldn’t make this up,” Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said. “It stinks. It’s really unfortunate. We’re relieved this wasn’t worse, obviously. Very glad this wasn’t worse. But it’s been such a run of bad luck for him and obviously for us.”

Sale’s latest injury raises questions about his future with the team once he’s healthy. The 33-year-old appeared in just two games this season, throwing 5 2/3 innings. He suffered a broken left pinkie finger when he was hit by a line drive against the New York Yankees on July 17 and had surgery the next day. The start of his season was delayed after he broke a rib while working out on his own during the lockout.

“We need to dispatch some people to go find whoever has the Chris Sale voodoo doll and recover it,” Bloom said.

Bloom said Sale rode his bike home from a throwing session at Boston College near his home. He took his bike out again to get lunch and hit something as he was going down a hill, throwing him from the bike and causing what Bloom called “a pretty rough spill.”

Sale’s still-healing left pinkie wasn’t harmed in the crash, Bloom said.

Sale has thrown only 48 1/3 innings in the regular season and nine in the postseason since the end of 2019. He missed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season because of Tommy John surgery and went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA in nine starts last year. He’s logged only 14 starts, including three in the playoffs, over the past three seasons.

He is in the third year of a five-year, $145 million deal.

The Red Sox came within two wins of the World Series in 2021 but are last in the AL East thanks in part to injuries that have diminished both their starting rotation and regular lineup. Boston entered Tuesday at 54-56, 4 1/2 games out of the final AL wild-card spot.

Bloom said he had expected Sale to pitch again this season after recovering from the broken pinkie.

He’s spoken with Sale over the past few days and said he remains encouraged despite “an incredibly bizarre run of events.”

Bloom said the team will develop a plan for Sale’s 2023 season in light of all the missed time.

“We’re obviously gonna have to do that and be smart with it,” Bloom said. “If we want to play 162-plus, we have to build our team to have a lot of starting pitching depth. That’s been a huge organizational focus the last few years. Obviously, it’s been tested this year.

“It just shows the importance of that pipeline and continuing to build that depth and we plan on going into next year with a lot of starting pitching options,” Bloom continued. “Knowing that whether it’s Chris or someone else, things do happen and we’re gonna need people to step up over the course of the season if we want to play in the postseason.”

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.