Red Sox ace Chris Sale's progress continues at Polar Park this week

Red Sox ace Chris Sale’s progress continues at Polar Park this week

Chris Sale, who is with the Worcester Red Sox for this homestand, is working out at Polar Park and is impressed with what he’s seen at new park

Joe McDonald
Telegram & Gazette
Published 5:23 p.m. ET June 16, 2021

WORCESTER — After a brief session of long toss Wednesday at Polar Park, Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale walked off the field and gave the trainer the thumbs up.

The left-hander was all smiles, and he understands he’s getting closer to his ultimate goal of returning to the Red Sox rotation. He underwent Tommy John surgery 14 months ago, and the last time he pitched in a game was Aug. 13, 2019.

“It feels good,” he said after playing long toss with WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott. “I’m starting to get back to normal and doing the things I’ve supposed to be doing.”

Sale will remain with the WooSox for the entire six-game homestand and will throw bullpen sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays. He’s also using the weight room and training facilities at Polar Park.

“It’s just more of the same and just keep moving the chains,” he said.

Even though he’s made significant progress, he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself, or get too excited about his status.

“You’ve just got to stay the course and not get too far ahead myself,” Sale said. “I’ve noticed to just appreciate days at this point. I understand where I’m at, and I’m getting closer, but at the same time I still have a job to do. I’ve got to come in on a daily basis, feel good and work hard because that’s going to get me to my ultimate goal, and that’s pitching back on the field.”

As far as a timetable, Sale isn’t at that point — yet.

“They can’t tell me stuff like that,” he said. “I’m very appreciative of where I’m at right now. It took a lot of work to get here, and I know I’ve got some work to do, but whenever that comes, it comes, and I’ll be ready.”

There’s always the challenge of trying to do too much once a rehabbing athlete starts to feel almost 100 percent, and Sale’s no different. Meanwhile, he credits the organization’s medical, training and coaching staffs for their guidance and help through his rehab.

“My body’s going to tell me, ‘Hey, this was a good day’ or ‘You might’ve pushed the envelop a little bit.’ A combination of all those things has helped me out a lot to get to where I’m at.”

Sale did have a bit of a scare during the offseason when he suffered a setback due to a neck injury, but that’s no longer a concern.

“Knock on wood, that’s all behind me,” he said. “That was something that came up during the offseason and set us back a little bit, but we’ve got it figured out and back on track. Now we’re rolling.”

While he’s been focused on his rehab, the biggest news around the baseball world is the crackdown on the use of foreign substances. MLB recently instituted a plan to enforce rules against sticky substances on the baseball, but Sale said he’s hasn’t paid much attention to it because he has more important things on his mind.

“I’m trying to rehab an elbow. I don’t have time to worry about all this other stuff,” he said. “When I get out there, I’m going to do the same things I’ve always done, and that’s just competing and trying to win ballgames. All the other stuff is out of my control.”

On a more positive subject, Sale said he’s been impressed with the facilities at Polar Park in the inaugural season for the WooSox.

“This place is legit,” he said. “It’s even more fun because this team is fun to watch. We’ve got some guys on this team that bring energy. The athleticism is through the roof here. It’s crazy. Even (Tuesday’s) game, it was all over the place. This is a beautiful ballpark.”

It helps that the WooSox have won seven straight games and 24 of their last 34 games this season. The team is built with a solid combination of prospects and veterans that have the ability to impact the Red Sox when needed.

“Having a good team to fill it in the first season makes it even more fun,” Sale said. “Hopefully these guys keep rolling. It’s awesome.”

Even though Sale is not required to stick around for WooSox games, he’s been watching from the dugout and enjoying baseball again, especially with a full house.

“The biggest change was when the fans came back,” he said. “Early in the year it was 12 percent, and it was nice. It was fun being back in the dugout and seeing the game, but anybody who plays sports knows the fans make the atmosphere. That’s where the adrenaline comes from, and it’s even the separation between the playoffs and the regular season because the fans are more into it.

"Obviously, there’s more at stake, but from the first pitch of the game to the last pitch these people (at Polar Park) are screaming their faces off. That’s what we feed off of and I love it. Having the fans backs has been a huge plus just for me on the sidelines. I can’t only imagine what’s it’s like being out there.”

—Contact Joe McDonald at Follow him on Twitter @JoeyMacHockey.

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This is such awesome news!!! I agree completely too, he doesn’t want to get too excited or rush a return and undo everything that he has been working so hard at. We are playing just fine and only a game behind the Rays now, so there is no point in rushing a return… Yes it will be nice to have him back as the starting rotation is struggling (outside of Nate) but we don’t want to chance injuring him or pushing him back.

He will return when he is good and ready and I can’t wait. :slight_smile:

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Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale looks sharp after latest bullpen session at Polar Park


Oooooooh this is exciting!!!

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Big happenings in The Woo this weekend! :grin:


Hell yes!!!

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Yesterday at Polar Park for the WooSox:

“81 pitches (51 strikes), one run, seven strikeouts and a walk — and he earned the win in a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Bisons.”


Can’t wait !!! He’s so close. We need him back in the worst way right now.

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What a shame he has to come back to this.

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