Red Sox ace Chris Sale wonders if spring training illness was coronavirus instead of pneumonia

Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale suffered a mild case of pneumonia that delayed the start of his spring training back in February. Now, the left-hander, who had Tommy John surgery last month, is wondering if the illness could have been the novel coronavirus, which has caused a global pandemic and the shutdown of all major sports, including Major League Baseball. 

Given the symptomatic similarities between Sale’s pneumonia and the coronavirus, Sale couldn’t help but wonder on a Tuesday conference call.

“I don’t think there’s a test now, but I think they’re working on a test now to see if you have antibodies for it, meaning you’ve had it,” Sale told reporters, including John Tomase of NBC Sports Boston. “It’s craziness to look at my symptoms and look at the symptoms of people who have the COVID-19 virus and some of the similarities. We may never know, but I’m definitely hoping not.”

Sale tested negative for the flu, but the test for the coronavirus wasn’t available at the time.

“If there is a way to find out, I would love to find out, but I don’t know. I think that might be a stretch,” Sale said. “As contagious as this virus is, I think that if I had it, somebody in my family and a lot of people at the park would have been infected by it. I don’t want to make light of it and joke about having something like that, but it definitely crossed my mind and I asked people about it.

Sale underwent Tommy John surgery and won’t return to a mound in a Red Sox uniform until sometime in the 2021 seasonn. The surgery should help Sale move past the elbow issues that have bothered him dating back to the second half of last season. He’ll be out of his arm cast and begin rehabbing from his home, according to Alex Speier of The Boston Globe.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, spring training was suspended on March 12, and the start of Major League Baseball’s 2020 regular season is currently on hold. No current MLB player has yet publicly tested positive for the coronavirus.

MLB and the MLB Players’ Association have been in discussions about a variety of scenarios for the 2020 regular and postseason, including doubleheaders and extending the season into October. Now, MLB is reportedly considering starting the 2020 season as soon as May with all games in Arizona.

CBS News has the latest updates about the virus, which has affected various sports globally and in the United States. Here at CBS Sports we have a running updates on how sports leagues are responding to coronavirus. 

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