Red Sox ace Chris Sale dominates start of minor-league rehab for Double-A Portland

The Harrisburg Senators and Portland Sea Dogs faced off in Double-A action on Tuesday night and there was a bit more attention due to the presence of a slender southpaw taking the mound for the Sea Dogs. It would be Red Sox ace Chris Sale, who keeps coming back from Tommy John surgery.

On Sale’s first rehab start, he threw the Rookie Ball last Thursday. He worked three scoreless innings, allowing four hits while striking out five and walking no one.

The second exit is much more important. Not only do we see how his body reacted and if he can continue to increase the workload, but it is against more fierce competition.

Dirty would pass all the tests, assuming he didn’t wake up with his elbow barking tomorrow morning.

His fastball was there, with those on stage (Chris Cotillo from noting that Sale was sitting at 97-98 mph with the radiator on.

What about the erase cursor?


Final line of sale: 3 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

So, yes, he totally dominated. Zero success!

More importantly, Sale threw 49 pitches. In general, returning pitchers can increase their pitch count somewhere in the 15-20 range per start, which means next time he’s likely to pitch with Triple-A Worchester (if their schedule matches plans. de Sale and the Red Sox office front) and could operate up to the 65-step range. After that, he might be ready to join the big league club. Even though he’s only limited to something like 75-80 shots on his first outing with the Red Sox, that probably gets them through at least five innings and that’s a lot to rely on.

Simply, Tuesday’s outing – again, assuming he’s not in pain – was a huge success for Sale and the Red Sox.

The Red Sox currently have Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez and possibly Martin Perez as their rotation devices. Nick Pivetta, Garrett Richards and Tanner Houck also hang out. It’ll be interesting to see which route the Red Sox take once Sale is ready to join the rotation – and there’s a trade deadline too – but it’ll be a much better rotation once he’s there.

The Red Sox entered Tuesday night with a 1-1 / 2 game lead over the Rays in LA East.

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