Just what the Yankees needed: “The Boogeyman.”
The Red Sox are coming off a controversial three-game sweep of the Yankees, are battling the Rays for the AL East lead and are inching closer to the return of Chris Sale.
Following an elbow injury last year, Sale underwent Tommy John surgery in March. After months of rehabbing, Sale is on his way to returning to the mound.
“He’s gonna be with us this home stand. He might travel with us,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters before the team’s win over the Miami Marlins on Monday.
“He’s throwing a bullpen today. I actually talked to him a little bit earlier. He is in a great place; he feels great, he’s excited for what happened this weekend, obviously excited about where we are. The way he put it is like, ‘Man when I come back, what am I gonna do? Because we’re throwing the ball well.
“I’m happy that he’s here. I think it helps him obviously just being around the guys. He’s one of the leaders on our team. The way things are going, they’re trending up. We’re very pleased with the way that the rehab is going.”
It is still unclear when exactly Sale will be ready for a return, but at least one player who has seen him in actions seems more than impressed.
Connor Seabold, a Boston prospect who is also rehabbing an arm injury, saw Sale pitch bullpens in Fort Meyers and sent a message signifying Sale’s return to pitching dominance: “Boogeyman’s coming.”
Sale was throwing a bullpen session at Fenway Park on Tuesday, back among his teammates ahead of their series with the Astros.
“There’s a good chance he might (throw to hitters), somebody will stand there, and he’ll throw,” Cora said of Sale’s next steps. “He threw three sliders, and they were very similar to the ones Eduardo (Rodriguez) was throwing in ’19. He still got that sense of humor, and like I said, He’s in a great place right now.”
The 32-year-old lefty, whom the Red Sox signed to a five-year, $145 million extension that runs through 2024, was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball until his time in Boston was derailed by injuries.
As the trade deadline approaches, the topic of reinforcements on the mound has been discussed. While Boston’s decision remains up in the air, Sale’s value could not be underscored more by Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom.
“He could be as or probably more impactful than any addition we could possibly conceive of making,” Bloom said.