Boston Red Sox left-handed pitcher Chris Sale, who is on the 60-day injured list with a stress fracture in his right rib cage, suffered a recent setback due to a "small personal medical issue."
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom revealed the news to reporters Saturday.
"He’s had a small personal medical issue—it’s not orthopedic, it’s not COVID-related—that paused his throwing for a while," Bloom said.
"And we want to respect the privacy of that. It’s not baseball-related. He should be back throwing in a matter of days. But it’s obviously slowing him down."
Sale is eligible to return off the 60-day IL on June 6, but this setback will delay his return further.
"Obviously we haven’t mapped it out yet, but I think roughly speaking, we were hoping to have him back around when he was eligible," Bloom said. "I think we’re probably talking a few weeks beyond that."
Sale, a seven-time All-Star, went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 42.2 innings last year.
Left elbow inflammation prematurely ended a tough 2019 season for Sale, who went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA. He underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his UCL in March 2020 and missed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Sale returned to the rotation on Aug. 14, 2021.
Sale was one of the best pitchers in baseball from 2012 to 2018, posting a 2.91 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 10.9 K/9 rate. Sale made the All-Star Game and finished top-six in the AL Cy Young voting each season of those seven seasons. He also received MVP votes from 2015 to 2018.
The southpaw started his career with the Chicago White Sox in 2010 before being traded to the Red Sox in Dec. 2016. He led the majors with 308 strikeouts in 2017 before serving as Boston's ace for its 2018 World Series-winning season.
The 2022 campaign has not been as kind to Boston, which sits last in the American League East with a 10-17 record. The Red Sox rank just 10th out of 15 AL teams in ERA and 12th in OPS.
Adding Sale back to the rotation this summer would certainly help the Red Sox, and their season isn't over after just 27 games. They'll have to wait a little longer for Sale after the setback, but a potential return before the All-Star break could help position Boston for a far better second half.