The 34-year-old left-hander showed a drop in velocity in the fourth inning, prompting a mound visit from manager Alex Cora and a member of the Red Sox medical staff. Sale remained in the game but received another mound visit two pitches later after walking Nick Senzel. This time, he left the game having thrown 59 pitches.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora and their medical trainer checked on Chris Sale, left him in the game and then a couple pitches later, removed him from the game with just 59 pitches. pic.twitter.com/3NpVDPvtwS
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 2, 2023
The Red Sox later announced that Sale experienced left shoulder soreness. Cora told reporters that Sale wanted to stay in, but he pulled the pitcher to reduce injury risk.
“I cannot be irresponsible," Cora said. "We know each other. Obviously, it’s not easy with everything he's gone through, but I’ve got to take care of him.”
Sale is scheduled for an MRI on Friday.
"We'll see," Cora said.
Sale didn't speak with reporters postgame.
Sale has been plagued by injuries
The injury scare is the latest for the seven-time All-Star, who has seen multiple seasons derailed by injury. He has been limited to just 11 starts the previous three seasons. He missed all of 2020 and all but nine starts in 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
He started 2022 on the injured list because of a fractured rib cage. Then he was hit with a line drive two games into his return and broke the pinkie finger on his left hand. He didn't pitch again last season.
Sale has made eight starts this season, including Thursday, while posting a career-worst 4.58 ERA. But he has flashed the fastball that made him an overwhelming pitcher in his prime while striking out 71 batters in 59 innings. He was 4-0 in his five starts prior to Thursday, with a 2.24 ERA in those games.