Red Sox diary: Chris Sale continues rehab for return

Chris Sale threw a 15-pitch bullpen Thursday at Fort Myers as the Red Sox southpaw resumed his build for a comeback.

Thursday’s bullpen is Sale’s first since late April, before he suffered a “personal medical issue” that forced him out of pitching for several weeks. He had already thrown a few shorter bullpens and started playing wrestling again recently.

“It’s the first step and now build it,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.

Cora wasn’t sure yet how Sale’s rehab will be planned, but it’s likely the pitcher will kick off his next bullpen next week. Sale – who was originally placed on the 60-day injured list in early April after suffering a stress fracture in his right rib cage in March – was previously scheduled to return in early June, but that deadline has been pushed back by several weeks to likely end. June.

ALEX BOGAERTS was back in the lineup Saturday as the Red Sox avoided a scare with their star shortstop.

Bogaerts was on the list for everyday lower back pain after colliding with Alex Verdugo during a play in the eighth inning of Friday’s 7-3 win over Seattle. On a pop-up to short left field, Bogaerts was backpedaling for the ball when Verdugo slid under him while also trying to make the play, sending the shortstop crashing to the ground on his back. He dropped the ball as he fell and suffered for several moments.

Bogaerts stayed in the game briefly before going out in the bottom of the eighth. He had treatment and felt well enough to start on Saturday.

“(He) called me this morning, asked me to give him a chance to see how he was moving,” Cora said.

With a day off coming on Monday, Bogaerts may be rested for Sunday’s game to give him two days in a row, but Cora was going to wait to see how he felt after Saturday’s game.

“One of the things about Alex is he doesn’t like days off,” Cora said. “Not just because of the wall, but he feels it’s his home and I need to post home. He’s told me that many times over the years. But obviously we’ll be smart about it. S he needs two, we’ll give him two.

Cora noted that Bogaerts’ backpedaling method on plays in the outfield is unconventional, but it works for him.

“He feels comfortable doing this,” Cora said. “That’s how he does it. It’s hard because there are 35,000 people screaming. Usually as a second baseman, shortstop, you go sideways and you can kind of feel it, feel where it’s at. He’s right there. … But that’s how he’s done his whole career and he’s really, really good at it.

Now that they know he’s fine, Bogaerts was teased by Rafael Devers at the clubhouse when they arrived on Saturday.

“We’re just lucky nothing bad happened,” Cora said. “Now we can joke about it. Raffy was actually talking about Bogey earlier in the day that he could play in the Premier League or La Liga with this reaction. Now we can laugh.

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