How Chris Sale fared in rehab start for Triple-A Worcester

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How Chris Sale fared in rehab start for Triple-A Worcester originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Chris Sale appears ready for his long-awaited return to the big-league mound.

The Boston Red Sox left-hander made what may have been his final rehab start Wednesday night for Triple-A Worcester vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He showed flashes of his dominant self, striking out five RailRiders hitters through 3 2/3 innings of work. Command was an issue, however, as he walked five batters.

Sale hovered around 93-96 mph with his fastball for most of the night and topped out at 97. His lone earned run came when he walked the final batter he faced on a borderline pitch with two strikes.

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Sale's final stat line: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 5 BB (72 pitches, 42 strikes)

Sale was his own harshest critic following his outing.

"Not good," he said of his performance. "Decent at times. Just, command was bad today. Nothing's easy in this game, but things that are easier to clean up. ...

"I had the best fastball, the best slider, and the best changeup tonight. Just not consistently," he added. "That's not going to fly in the big leagues. I need to clean that up obviously this next week in the bullpen and stuff like that. ... It was there, I just have to work on the consistency."

Sale was also seen trashing the WooSox clubhouse after he was taken out in the fourth inning.

It was Sale's fourth rehab start since he suffered a stress fracture in his right rib cage before spring training. The 33-year-old was scheduled to return from the injury in June, but a non-baseball medical issue delayed his timetable. He missed most of the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Barring any further setbacks, all signs point toward Sale making his first start of the season with the MLB club next week in Tampa Bay. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Tuesday that the team will see how Sale is feeling after his rehab start before making a decision.

Despite his struggles on Wednesday, Sale believes he's prepared for the next step.

“I’m very ready," he said. "I know today was a little bit of a hiccup, but it’s nothing that can’t be ironed out.”