Red Sox ace Chris Sale undergoes MRI after experiencing elbow soreness

Gone from the 2019 Red Sox rotation already are David Price (traded to Dodgers) and Rick Porcello (free agency). There’s now legitimate worry Chris Sale will be added to the list. The lefty ace has a sore throwing elbow and has gone for an MRI. According to the team, they are waiting for Dr. James Andrews to read the MRI results (via Pete Abraham). 

Dr. Andrews is an esteemed doctor, but his name is most associated with Tommy John surgery. If Sale needs the procedure, he’d miss all of the 2020 season and probably some of the 2021 season. 

Sale was shut down mid-August last season due to elbow inflammation and he had diminished velocity in the early going last year as well. He also had easily the worst year of his career, going 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA (109 ERA+), though he still struck out 208 in 147 1/3 innings. 

Sale, whose five-year, $145 million extension starts this season, was already expected to miss Opening Day after the start of his spring training was delayed due to pneumonia. The elbow issue is a much greater concern.

Here’s what the Red Sox’s rotation looks like without Sale:

  1. Eduardo Rodriguez
  2. Nathan Eovaldi
  3. Martin Perez
  4. Ryan Weber
  5. Hector Velazquez

Needless to say, that doesn’t look too sturdy for a team that won 108 games and the World Series just two seasons ago. 

SportsLine projects the Red Sox to go 87-75 this season, good for third place in the AL East but short of a playoff spot. Their playoff odds sit at 32.9 percent. This is with Sale in the rotation, however. There would obviously be a ding there if Sale misses an extended portion of the season.

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