Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke says that star lefty Chris Sale won’t be ready for the start of the season, as Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports (Twitter links). This news doesn’t come as a surprise but is still a bit of a disappointment. It’s worth reminding that the recent slate of rule changes in MLB included pushing the minimum IL stay for pitchers back to 15 days.
Sale, whose return from elbow woes was interrupted by pneumonia, is said to be approximately two weeks behind the schedule of the remainder of the team’s starters. That provides a solid gauge as to the earliest possible point at which he’d be slotted back into the MLB rotation. Fortunately, the delay largely reflects the poorly timed illness, not any development of concern with regard to Sale’s throwing arm.
While the Sox would surely prefer to hand Sale the ball on Opening Day, the team can live with a few missed starts. That said, the organization needs to rack up every possible win if it hopes to surprise sans Mookie Betts. Even with the rival Yankees dealing with a host of worrisome health problems early in camp, the New York roster is loaded. The Rays look strong and there are several good Wild Card competitors from other divisions.
Despite the desire to turn Sale loose as soon as possible, it’s quite understandable that the Red Sox would elect a conservative course. The club is invested in him for the long run and has obviously not put all of its eggs in the 2020 basket.