MLB Rumors: When Chris Sale could return to Red Sox rotation

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Here's when Chris Sale could return to Red Sox rotation originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

We may not have to wait much longer to see Chris Sale back on a major-league mound.

The Boston Red Sox left-hander could return to the starting rotation as soon as next week, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi. Manager Alex Cora told MLB Network Radio that the team will see how Sale is feeling after his rehab start for Triple-A Worcester on Wednesday. If all goes well, his next appearance could come for the big-league club.

Sale hasn't pitched since the 2021 postseason due to a stress fracture in his right rib cage. The 33-year-old originally was scheduled to return in June, but a non-baseball medical issue pushed back his timetable. He missed most of the 2021 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

In nine starts for the Red Sox last season, Sale posted a 5-1 record and 3.16 ERA. Despite the respectable numbers, it was clear the seven-time All-Star didn't have his dominant stuff. His fastball velocity predictably was down and his lack of an effective changeup made him a two-pitch pitcher with only a fastball and a slider.

This time, we could get a glimpse of "vintage" Sale as he'll be well over a year removed from his Tommy John surgery. Cora recently hyped up Sale's return by mentioning his 97-mph fastball and the return of his changeup. If that's the version of Sale the Red Sox are getting, it'll go a long way toward helping Boston's pitching staff for the stretch run.

First pitch for Sale's rehab start at Triple-A Worcester is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday.