Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale exited Sunday's start against the New York Yankees in the first inning after a line drive by Aaron Hicks hit him in his pitching hand.
Hirokazu Sawamura replaced the southpaw, who was diagnosed with a fractured fifth finger on his left hand.
Sale has been hampered by injuries in recent years. The 33-year-old hasn't appeared in more than 30 games since the 2017 season and didn't pitch at all during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign after having Tommy John surgery.
Sale returned for the 2021 season in August and went 5-1, posting a 3.16 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 52 strikeouts in 42.2 innings across nine starts. However, this was just his second start in 2022 after suffering a fracture in his rib cage during spring training.
Aside from Sale, Boston's rotation includes Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta and Garrett Whitlock. Eovaldi has emerged as one of the team's best pitchers over the last few years.
The Red Sox are 48-44 this season, which is good enough for fourth place in the American League East. Without Sale at the top of a rotation that is riddled with injuries, a playoff push will be difficult.