Chris Sale Double-A Portland rehab start

PORTLAND, Maine — Chris Sale was right where he wanted to be on Thursday.

“I miss this. I’ve had a lot of time away from this,”Sale “The feeling that I get out there, I can’t replicate it. I enjoyed how I felt out there. It’s so much a part of who I am. It’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I genuinely love playing baseball.”

Making his first rehabAs he made his way to the complex level after a rib-cage stress injury, the 6-foot-6 lefty struck out seven and threw 36 of 52 pitches for strikes in Double-A Portland Sea Dogs’. 15-4 winOver the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He allowed four hits and did no walk.

“Today went well. Honestly, I was expecting to go back out [for the fifth],”He said. “If they told me I was starting [for the Red Sox] five days from now, I would be excited for that. If I can get through five, six innings and be like I was today, I think I’d be ready to go. But my hands are off the wheel.”

The seven-time MLB All-Star clocked in at 96 mph. He also threw several pitches at 95, while getting swings on his slider. However, he was particularly happy with his feel for the changeup — one of his main areas of focus for his offseason training.

“The two things I needed to work on coming into this year were arm strength and that third pitch. I need that,”He said.

“Velo comes and goes. … For me, I worry about, ‘What are the reactions of the hitters? How are they responding?'”He said. “Velo’s good. And it’s fun, but where I’m at, what I’m trying to achieve, it’s not the end-all, be-all. It’s nice that it’s there, but 96 to me today is as important as the socks I’m wearing.”

Sale made two rehabPortland made several appearances during his recovery from Tommy John surgery last summer. He was happy with the way things felt this time around.

“I feel like last year when I was here, I was searching for some stuff,”He said. “I was still working on some things. Now, I feel like I’m just starting to sharpen things, just starting to build.”

He was not particularly shocked by the damage that the Fisher Cats did to him. Blue Jays prospect Cam Eden began the New Hampshire third inning with an infield single. Chris Bec followed this with a double off Hadlock field’s Maine Monster. Sea Dogs leftfielder Tyreque Reed ineptly played the ball to allow Eden to score at first. Orelvis Martinez is the No. 29 prospect in MLB. 29 prospect, Sale was singled out in the fourth after striking in the second.

“They hit bad ones today. I threw a changeup that was up, I hung a breaking ball, and they made me pay,” Sale admitted. “But the good ones were good.”

When asked if recent discussions surrounding the vaccination status for Red Sox players would lead to a sale, the lefty was reticent.

“No. I just had a lot of fun. Let’s not ruin that. I’m enjoying this process,”He said. “I appreciate being where I’m at and what I’m doing. Today’s today and tomorrow’s going to come. We’ll figure that [stuff] out in a month.”

He reiterated that he was back with the Red Sox because he is eager to be there.

“That’s what this whole process is for,”He said. “I love being [in Maine]. I love the guys in Worcester. My boys down in Florida — they know I love them. But this whole process is getting back to Boston and do what I need to do … and help that team win.”

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