Red Sox ace Chris Sale is progressing in his recovery from left shoulder inflammation and could return in time to make multiple starts before the playoffs begin, per Max Gelman of MLB.com. Sale has been on the disabled list since Aug. 18 (retroactive to the 15th), his second DL stint on account of shoulder inflammation since July. Sale had been enjoying a Cy Young-caliber campaign before landing on the shelf, and it’s certainly possible he’ll still end up with the award. While Sale has only thrown 146 innings, he leads the AL in ERA (1.97), K/9 (13.5), rWAR (6.5) and fWAR (6.1).
Here’s more on Boston and its chief rival:
- The Yankees are “very optimistic” injured right fielder Aaron Judge will return this season, manager Aaron Boone told reporters Friday (via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com). The hulking slugger suffered a chip fracture in his right wrist on July 26, and the team only expected Judge to miss three weeks at the time. Instead, Judge has been out upward of a month, and there’s still “no set date for him to resume swinging a bat,” Hoch writes. In the event Judge is unable to return this year, the Yankees have a nice fallback option in Andrew McCutchen, whom they acquired from the Giants on Friday. McCutchen made his Yankees debut on Saturday, starting in right and going 0-for-3 from the leadoff spot.
- The Yankees are also without closer Aroldis Chapman, who went on the DL on Aug. 22 with left knee inflammation. Chapman’s status for the rest of the season is now in question, general manager Brian Cashman suggested. Regarding a potential Chapman return, Cashman said (via Hoch): “I can’t tell you with a level of confidence or not. I know he’s going through the motions now of getting the treatment necessary and until we see him out there doing what he’s done in the past like he’s capable of doing it, it’s probably best for me to be cautious on that.” Even without Chapman, the Yankees still boast a set of quality relievers, including fill-in closer Dellin Betances. But having to go into the playoffs without the flamethrowing Chapman would still be an unfortunate development for the Yankees, considering the elite left-hander had been in the midst of another dominant season before going on the DL.
- Back to Boston, which has been without third baseman Rafael Devers since Aug. 17 with a hamstring injury. Devers has been playing with Triple-A Pawtucket of late, and the Red Sox don’t appear to be in a hurry to recall him, Sean McAdam of BostonSportsJournal.com tweets. “One thing’s for sure, Raffy’s got to play better,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “That’s the bottom line. We’re here to win games and whoever’s playing best is going to play.” To Devers’ credit, he did homer at the Triple-A level on Saturday. The 21-year-old has fallen flat in the majors this season after an encouraging rookie campaign in 2017, however, having hit just .242/.298/.422 in 423 plate appearances. Third base has been a disappointment in general for Boston, which has gotten subpar production from both Devers and Eduardo Nunez.