Chaim Bloom, the team’s chief baseball operator, announced Thursday that Chris Sale will undergo Tommy John surgery. The left-hander decided to do the procedure now in order not to miss significant time in the 2021 season.
Sale, 30, has felt discomfort as early as the Red Sox world series run in 2018, and pain has been on and off since then, which caused his velocity to fluctuate. He was shut down last August after discomfort caused him to have the worst season of his career (6-11, 4.40 ERA), but Sale knew it was for real when the problems returned during Spring Training.
Recovering from ligament repairs in the elbow typically takes 12-14 months which would schedule him to return sometime in the early-mid 2021 season. Many pitchers have done the now famous Tommy John surgery with close to 90% returning to pitch, although with mixed success.
The team did not specify that the delayed 2020 season was the reason for scheduling the surgery now, but it seems like a good time considering the Red Sox ace could potentially miss much less games than the average Tommy Johner.
This adds another brick in the offseason of change for Boston, who dealt star Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, replaced Dave Dombrowski with Bloom, and fired manager Alex Cora amidst his involvement with the Astros sign-stealing scandal.