Red Sox's Chris Sale speaks after plasma injection likely ends season

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BOSTON — Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale said he wouldn't mind waking up from this bad dream.

"Everybody talks about last year being a dream season. Personally, this has been kind of a nightmare season," Sale said to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, facing the media after having his left arm checked out by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

In a statement from the Red Sox on Monday, Sale was examined by Andrews and had a plasma injection into his left elbow. Then on Tuesday, Sale met with reporters in the Red Sox clubhouse prior to the start of Tuesday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies, a game that he was originally scheduled to start.

"I obviously wanted to see it through, keep fighting with the guys," Sale said. "We still have a shot, so any time someone has to step in and do the job for you and you can't go out there ... that's tough."

Sale leaves the Red Sox lineup after going 6-11 with a 4.40 earned-run average, and was coming off back-to-back quality starts, including eight scoreless innings against Anaheim back on Aug. 8.

Now with the injection, Sale is expected to be out of the lineup for the next 4-to-6 weeks, a time frame that might not allow Sale to return in 2019.

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"He got the [injection] two days ago," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said before Tuesday's game. "Just like [Monday], they say it's a six-week period. For the regular season, and possibly October too, it's going to be almost impossible. Now we have to build up, wait for them and stick with the program. As far as throwing and all that, I can't give you a timetable. We just have to be patient, see how he reacts to it and go from there."

It turns out to be a costly injection for Sale and the Red Sox. After all, the left hander signed a five-year extension heading into the season. The new contract kicks in next year and is for $145 million.

"You always wonder what's going to happen when you go to Pensacola (Fla.). We'll see how it works out," said Cora. "Obviously, it's not the worst case, so, now we move forward with the process. Hopefully, he'll be back at full strength."

While sounding somewhat relieved that Tommy John surgery was not in his immediate future, Sale said that he's still kind of frustrated that it happened. He is, however, optimistic that this won't be a crushing blow.

"I'm human. I'm an athlete. Things like this pop up. I didn't want this to happen as much, if not more, than anybody on the planet," he said. "Right now I'm just looking forward to getting through this process."

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.


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