The Red Sox have reinstated Chris Sale from the 60-day injured list, the team has announced. A spot on the 40-man roster was opened by Marwin Gonzalez being designated for assignment yesterday. Additionally, Christian Vazquez was reinstated from the bereavement list. To make room for Sale and Vazquez, Yacksel Rios and Connor Wong have been optioned to Triple-A.
This officially ends the star lefty’s journey of over two years away from big league mounds, having last pitched August 13th of 2019. At that time, he was shut down with elbow inflammation and eventually underwent Tommy John surgery in March of 2020.
Prior to this absence, he had been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball for almost a decade. For the eight seasons from 2012 to 2019, he pitched 1,535 1/3 innings with an ERA of 3.05 with 1,896 strikeouts. The 42.8 fWAR he accumulated during that time was third among all pitchers in baseball, behind only Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw.
If Sale is even half as good as that elite level, he’ll provide a huge boost to a Red Sox rotation that has been floundering of late. Martin Perez and Garrett Richards have been moved to the bullpen because of their recent struggles, leaving the club with a three-man rotation of Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta and Eduardo Rodriguez. (Tanner Houck was recalled to start on Thursday but then optioned to Triple-A the next day.) The club has gone on a cold streak of late, surrendering the AL East lead to the Rays, but still holding onto the second AL Wild Card spot, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees.