How long is Chris Sale out? Injury timeline, return date, latest updates on Red Sox ace

It’s been a hell of a few months for the Red Sox.

Alex Cora is out, the team is being investigated by MLB, Mookie Betts is in a Dodgers uniform (and so is David Price) and now Chris Sale is out while he deals with elbow soreness.

It’s unfortunate, but at this point, the Injured List isn’t a foreign concept to the lanky lefty. Sale spent time on the IL in September 2019 after dealing with a balky left elbow which ended his season prematurely and in 2018, Sale battled through a shoulder injury that nearly ended his season.

This injury is a serious toe-stub for the Red Sox. Already without David Price, whom they traded (read as: “salary-dumped”) this offseason as part of the Mookie Betts deal, Boston now has a rotation that features two locks: Eduardo Rodriguez and oft-injured Nathan Eovaldi, who is coming off an injury-riddled 2019 season himself.

Here’s everything you need to know about Sale’s current injury situation.

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How long will Chris Sale be out?

The Red Sox announced on March 3 that Chris Sale underwent an MRI and the results would be sent to Dr. James Andrews. Red Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke told reports on Wednesday, March 4 that Sale was seeking additional opinions on his elbow, including one from Dr. Neil Elattrache.

It is unclear what exactly Sale is dealing with, and Tommy John hasn’t been mentioned. Roenicke would also say not to expect the “worst case scenario.” But getting three opinions on one elbow isn’t exactly an indicator of good news. 

There’s currently no timetable for Sale’s return to the mound.

(Getty Images)

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Chris Sale injury timeline

On Feb. 29, Sale threw a bullpen session vs. live batters, his first after dealing with a bout of pneumonia earlier in Spring Training. The next day, Sale complained of soreness in his left elbow. On March 3, it was announced that Sale would undergo an MRI and that the results would be sent to Dr. James Andrews.

On March 4, Red Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke told reporters that Sale would seek additional opinions on his elbow.

In August 2019, Sale experienced left elbow inflammation. Then GM-Dave Dombrowski was unsure if Sale was going to pitch again in the 2019 season. It turns out his Aug. 13 start vs. the Indians would be his last of the year.

Sale would meet with famed sports doctor, Dr. James Andrews to discuss his next steps. Sale would avoid Tommy John injury in 2019, undergoing a platelet-rich injection and avoiding any kind of ligament damage. Sale said he would be a full participant in Spring Training this season.

Throughout the 2019 season, there was a noticeable dip in Sale’s velocity. While he averaged 95 mph on his fastball in two prior seasons with the Red Sox (per Fangraphs), in 2019 he averaged just 93.7 mph on his four-seamer. 

In August 2018, Sale dealt with a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a few weeks in August. He would return in September and help the Red Sox win the World Series that same season.

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Chris Sale injury updates

— March 4: Ron Roenicke announces that Sale would seek additional opinions on his elbow, hoping to align views from Red Sox team doctors and those outside the organization.

— March 3: Chris Sale goes for an MRI, and the results are sent to Dr. James Andrews.

— Feb. 29: Chris Sale throws a bullpen session vs. live batters for the first time during Spring Training.

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