Sale has strained elbow, pitching-needy Red Sox sign McHugh
By The Associated Press
Chris Sale tried to make the best of the latest diagnosis on his left elbow. The Boston Red Sox star won’t need Tommy John surgery — for now, anyway.
Sale felt discomfort Monday, a day after throwing his first batting practice of spring training. He had an MRI that was reviewed by team physicians and Drs. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, showing a flexor strain near his elbow.
“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Sale said. “There’s optimism to be had, and I’m thankful for that. But I know the situation we’re in right now and it’s not fun. ... This is about as tough situation as I’ve ever been in. ”
Sale is 109-73 in 10 major league seasons is entering the second season of a $160 million, six-year contract. After helping the Red Sox win the 2018 World Series, he went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 25 starts last year.
“Over the last year and up to this point, I’ve done nothing but fall flat on my face,” Sale said. “So it’s a gut punch. It’s a tough realization, but I’ve said it time and time again, I have no time to hang my head or sit in a corner and pout. I’ve got work to do and I’ve got an uphill battle to climb, but I got my climbing shoes on.”
Sale’s 2019 season was cut short after he gave up five runs over 6 2/3 innings in a win at Cleveland on Aug. 13.
Sale already had been slated to start the season on the injured list after reporting to camp with pneumonia, setting him behind schedule.
“Tommy John’s been a factor in my life for 20 years now,” Sale said. “So, obviously, with these things happening it’s on the table, but it’s always been on the table. So, that’s not something I’m going to worry myself with. I can’t go out there with that in the back of my mind.”
In the meantime, the Red Sox reached agreement with pitcher Collin McHugh on a $600,000, one-year contract.
McHugh, however, he is recovering from a flexor injury in his right arm and is not expected to be ready for opening day. He has not yet started a throwing program.
“They’re evaluating him still now,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “So, we don’t know when that period will be when he starts up.”
Eduardo Rodríguez, Nathan Eovaldi and Martín Pérez head Boston’s rotation. McHugh also could pitch in relief.
“He’s willing to do both,” Roenicke said. “So, we’ll get him ramped up, extend him out and then see where he fits in our staff.”
McHugh was 3-4 with a 6.37 ERA in eight starts last year with Houston, then got sent to the bullpen. He went 1-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 27 relief appearances with 40 strikeouts and 16 walks in 33 2/3 innings. That left him 4-5 with a 4.70 ERA for his season, which ended when he was placed on the injured list Aug. 31 due to right elbow soreness.