Red Sox News: Chris Sale to Start Season on IL After Recovering from Pneumonia

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2020

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale delivers in the first inning in a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Boston Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke announced on Thursday that starting pitcher Chris Sale will begin the 2020 MLB regular season on the injured list to continue his recovery from pneumonia.  

According to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, Roenicke noted that Sale is currently two weeks behind due to the illness.

Sale voiced his displeasure with the news via NESN:

The left-hander is coming off what was an injury-plagued season in 2019. In August, Sale was placed on the injured list with elbow inflammation, avoiding the need for Tommy John surgery. It did keep him out of action for multiple weeks, however, and he ended the year with just 25 starts.

Sale posted an ERA of 3.41 or better in each of his first nine MLB seasons, but 2019 was a struggle for him. He went 6-11 with a career-worst 4.40 ERA, although he did strike out 218 batters in 147.1 innings.

Despite his struggles, Sale was expected to come back strong and be the clear No. 1 starter of a Red Sox rotation that has some big-time question marks after trading David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 30-year-old is a seven-time All-Star and was Boston's ace on its run to a 2018 World Series title, finishing that season 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 237 strikeouts in 158 innings. While he wasn't as electric in the postseason (1-2 with a 4.11 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in five appearances), locking up Sale for the long term was a simple decision for Boston's front office.

Keeping him healthy is becoming a concern, though. He went to the injured list twice in the 2018 season, the injury bug bit him again in 2019, and now an illness may cost him starts to begin the 2020 campaign.

For a team already facing an uphill battle to earn a postseason berth in the loaded American League, his injury is a blow even if the IL stint is a short one.

Until Sale is able to return, look for Eduardo Rodriguez to anchor Boston's staff, with Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez also playing big roles.

What's your take?Get the B/R app to join the conversation

Related

    Forgotten MLB Sluggers 💣

    How many of these 25 power hitters do you remember?

    Boston Red Sox logo
    Boston Red Sox

    Forgotten MLB Sluggers 💣

    Joel Reuter
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: President Trump Called A-Rod for COVID-19 Response Advice

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Report: President Trump Called A-Rod for COVID-19 Response Advice

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    WATCH: Big Papi Thanks Healthcare Workers❤️

    David Ortiz sends love to workers at Mass. General Hospital during pandemic: 'We are all cheering for you' 🎥

    MLB logo
    MLB

    WATCH: Big Papi Thanks Healthcare Workers❤️

    Blake Schuster
    via Bleacher Report

    MLB Stars Playing ‘The Show’ 🎮

    Amir Garrett beats Blake Snell to win MLB the Show's Players Tournament 🏆

    MLB logo
    MLB

    MLB Stars Playing ‘The Show’ 🎮

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report