The news has gone from bad to worse for Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox, as the seven-time All-Star was transferred from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL on Friday afternoon. Sale was initially diagnosed with shoulder inflammation, but further testing revealed a stress reaction his shoulder blade, prompting the team to rethink his timeline for return.
Initial Chris Sale update from the Red Sox:— Gabrielle Starr (@gfstarr1) June 9, 2023
Imaging indicated a stress reaction in his scapula (shoulder blade) bone.
It's not a surgical case but requires rest and rehab.
They will reevaluate in 3-4 weeks and determine next steps from there.
The lefty will be shut down for at least the next 3-4 weeks, at which point Boston’s staff will see where his shoulder is at and whether he’s ready to resume a throwing program. Even the best-case scenario there would have him pick up a baseball again around the All-Star break, with a potential return to the mound at some point in August.
It’s brutal news for a Red Sox team already short on reliable starting pitchers. (Boston entered play on Friday a woeful 26th in baseball in starter ERA at 5.24.) Sale got off to a slow start this year but had been turning it on recently, with a 2.25 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 36 innings over his last six starts. The Red Sox have already announced that reliever-turned-starter Kutter Crawford will remain in the rotation in Sale’s place, at least for now. Crawford’s acquitted himself pretty well despite not having a chance to fully stretch out, with a 3.68 ERA in 12 appearances (four starts).
Beyond that, this will put a lot more pressure on the trio of James Paxton, Brayan Bello and Garrett Whitlock. Paxton has looked like his vintage self over his last few starts, with a fastball reaching 97-98, but he’s a near-constant injury risk at 34 years old. A former top prospect, Bello has settled in of late in his first full Major League season. Whitlock has been a valuable weapon between the bullpen and rotation the last couple of years, but injuries have prevented him from getting into a rhythm yet this year.