Chris Sale returned to the mound last week for his first start since 2021. Now he's headed for another injury layoff.
The Boston Red Sox pitcher left Sunday's game against the New York Yankees after getting hit with a line drive on his pitching hand. The injury took place in the bottom of the first inning with New York leading, 2-0. Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks hit a comebacker off a changeup that hit Sale on his left hand and bounced into shallow right field.
Sale immediately walked off the mound and held up his hand to show a mangled pinky. He walked into the dugout and didn't return to the game. The Red Sox later announced that he fractured his finger. They didn't offer a timeline for his return. Sale told reporters that he believes that he'll pitch again this season. He's scheduled to see a specialist in Boston.
Sale, a seven-time All-Star, made his first start of the season on July 12 after being sidelined with a stress fracture in his right rib cage that was diagnosed in March. He pitched five scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays in his return before being charged with two earned runs in 2/3 of an inning in Sunday's 13-2 loss.
Prior to his rib injury, Sale missed the entire 2020 season and most of 2021 following Tommy John surgery. The 33-year-old has been Boston's ace when healthy and helped the Red Sox to victory in the 2018 World Series, where he recorded the final outs of the decisive Game 5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He's in the third year of a five-year, $145 million contract extension he signed in 2019. Injuries have limited him to 11 starts during the extension that runs through 2024.