The Red Sox officially placed Chris Sale on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to July 19, after the southpaw fractured his pinky on a comebacker during his final start before the All-Star Break. Brayan Bello has been recalled from Triple-A Worcester to take his active roster spot. Boston also selected infielder Yolmer Sánchez and optioned out catcher Connor Wong.
Sale’s timetable for a return remains unclear. He underwent surgery earlier this week, with the team announcing they anticipated he’d be back at some point this season. Manager Alex Cora acknowledged today he has “no idea” when the southpaw could return, adding “hopefully he can get back with us and dominate” (via Steve Hewitt of the Boston Herald). Sale has pitched just twice this season after missing the first three months of the year with a rib fracture.
Boston also placed second baseman Trevor Story on the IL just before the Break, necessitating Sánchez’s call-up. The righty-hitting infielder adds some depth on the dirt, although rookie Jeter Downs looks the favorite for playing time at second base. Sánchez, a former Gold Glove winner with the White Sox, adds a solid defensive specialist to the bench. He’s a career .245/.300/.359 hitter through just under 2500 plate appearances at the big league level.
Sánchez also saw brief action as a COVID substitute earlier this season, appearing in a game during a series in Toronto. That promotion was always temporary, but this call-up represents a permanent addition to the 40-man roster. Boston was able to send the 30-year-old back to Worcester without passing him through waivers last time around, but they’d have to designate him for assignment to remove him from the MLB roster this time. Signed to a minor league deal over the offseason, Sánchez has posted a .247/.377/.413 line with the WooSox, walking in a massive 16.5% of his 303 plate appearances.
Boston had a vacancy on the 40-man roster, so no additional move was necessary to accommodate Sánchez’s promotion. Josh Winckowski is temporarily not counting against the 40-man while on the COVID list; Boston will need to create space to reinstate Wincowski whenever he’s ready to return.