Chris Sale strikes out 5 in likely final rehab start, declares himself ‘very ready’ to rejoin Red Sox

WORCESTER, Mass. WORCESTER, Mass. — Chris Sale struggled Wednesday night to calm down in what was to be his last. rehabBefore he rejoins Boston’s teammates, start.

The Red Sox brass must now decide whether to apply the brakes to their former ace’s return.

Sale struck out five Triple A batters before he left. He then walked in a run in the fourth inning, his fifth walk of the evening.

“I’m very ready,” said Sale, who took out his frustrations on a wall in the dugout tunnel but was joking around with reporters a few minutes later. “Although today was a little bumpy, there are many things that can be fixed.”

Speaking to reporters Thursday from Fenway Park about his “temper tantrum” Wednesday night, Sale said, “It’s not something that I’m proud to do and it’s not something that I want to do but… stuff happens.”

He noted that he thought he was in a private place in the dugout tunnel, where cameras typically are not allowed.

“There is no public access [there]I believed that I was in a safer area.” Sale said.

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    Pitching for the Worcester Red Sox against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, a Yankees farm team, Sale left after throwing 72 pitches in 3⅔ innings and allowing one run on three hits. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said no decision had been made on whether Sale would need another rehab appearance before returning to Boston.

    “I heard about it, but I have to see how it went, and what it actually was,” Cora said Wednesday after the Red Sox’s 7-1 defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. The park is located about an hour east off Worcester. “I’ll know more [Thursday].”

    Sale failed to deliver a 1-2-3 inning, though he induced a double play to get out of the third. He loaded the bases in the fourth on three hits — two of them infield singles. He struck out designated hitter Armando Alvarez for the second out with a 96 mph fastball that was his 65th pitch of the game.

    That was supposed to be the limit for the 33-year-old left-hander, who broke a rib while working out on his own during the major league lockout. But when pitching coach Paul Abbott came out to talk to Sale, he left alone.

    No. 9 hitter David Freitas worked the count to 3-2 and then took a pitch that was close enough for the sold-out crowd to cheer in anticipation of a strikeout. But plate umpire Sam Burch remained silent, the runner trotted in from third to tie the game 1-1 and Sale punched the air in frustration.

    Manager Chad Tracy headed to the mound, and Sale departed to a standing ovation from the crowd of 8,891. As he walked off, he waved his glove at Burch in a friendly manner.

    “I’m a pitcher. Sale said that he believes they are all strikes during a midgame press conference in the weight room of the home clubhouse. “It was probably down. Honestly, I didn’t even look at it.”

    Sale did not register a decision in the game, which the RailRiders won 4-2. The seven-time All-Star gave his performance a raspberry and called it “”Not good”‘, but he stated that his struggle to command was “a blip on the radar.”

    “I mean, I walked five guys. I’ve gone months without walking five guys,”Sale “That just tells me it right there that nothing’s wrong. It’s just I got some things I have to clean up.” Sale, whose first pitch was clocked at 97 mph, said his problem was “It was almost too good.

    “I was just battling myself today,” he said. “It was all there. It was all I had to do was corral it.

    Sale could be back with the Red Sox next week against AL East rival Tampa Bay. This would give him an opportunity to make one more start against New York Yankees before The All-Star break.

    “This was all for me to get back up to the big leagues and start doing my job and pulling my weight and trying to win a championship,” said Sale, who treated his teammates to a hibachi lunch and a steak dinner Wednesday. “It’s all great, but it’s not the whole picture. I need to get back there.

    Tracy said it was “completely and utterly out of my hands”What happens next?

    “He came out of it healthy and felt really good, which is the most important thing in situations like this,” he said. “He was probably a bit high, but the stuff looked amazing. He felt great. It was a great day for him.

    Sale has thrown just 42⅔ innings for the Red Sox since the end of the 2019 season. He missed 2020 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. After that, Sale went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA.

    He said that his experience with this injury was different than the last one. Sale stated that he doesn’t feel any pain in his ribs since returning late to spring training.

    “I know today wasn’t great. But comparing this to last year, you’re in a completely different spot,”He said. “Just more confidence in myself and my ability, coming back from a major arm surgery last year, a lot of question marks still.

    “This year, we will be sharpening the blade and not rebuilding it.

    This report was contributed by The Associated Press.

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