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Chris Sale strikes 5 in what could be the last start of rehab

Red Sox

Chris Sale kicks off a rehab start for the WooSox at Polar Park. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Chris Sale struck out five Triple-A hitters before leaving when he scored a two-out run in the fourth inning Wednesday night in what could be his last rehab start before returning to the rotation of Boston.

Pitcher for the Worcester Red Sox against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, a Yankees farm team, Sale allowed one run on three hits and five walks. He loaded the bases in the fourth on three hits — including two infield singles — then retired designated hitter Armando Alvarez for the second out with a 96 mph fastball that was his 65th pitch of the game.

That was supposed to be the limit for the 33-year-old southpaw, who broke a rib while training alone during the major league lockdown. But when pitching coach Paul Abbott came out to talk to Sale, he left alone.

9 hitter David Freitas worked the count to 3-2, then took a pitch close enough for the sold-out crowd to cheer in anticipation of a strikeout. But plate umpire Sam Burch remained silent, the runner trotted off third to tie the game 1-1, and Sale hit the air in frustration.

Manager Chad Tracy headed to the mound and Sale walked off to a standing ovation. As he walked away, he waved his glove friendly at Burch.

Sale has pitched just 42 2/3 innings for the Red Sox since the end of the 2019 season. He missed all of 2020 recovering from Tommy John’s surgery, then went 5-1 with a 3.16 MPM last year.


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