The Boston Red Sox were able to defeat the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series despite ace Chris Sale being less than 100 percent. On Saturday, we thought we’d learned the very strange reason Sale was actually hospitalized during the series, leading to him being scratched from his scheduled start in ALCS Game 5. But it turns out it was all a rouse.
While speaking to the media Saturday, Sale claimed a body piercing was to blame. More specifically, irritation from a belly button ring that Sale repeatedly takes in and out during the baseball season.
Chris Sale says he’s feeling better.
Asked what caused the stomach illness, he said, “I had irritation from a belly button ring. Constantly taking it in and out caused irritation. Doctors and nurses at MGH were awesome. Things happen. You handle them. And keep moving forward.”
— Jason Mastrodonato (@JMastrodonato) October 20, 2018
But an unidentified teammate has come forward admitting that Sale was planning to prank the media with his story.
Sale, speaking in front of about 20 reporters and cameramen, never cracked a smile. Never winked. Nothing. He looked dead serious.
It was reported that way, too, much to Sale’s delight, the ultimate prankster.
Sale confided to several teammates that he was going to tell his tale and see if he could fool the media into buying it.
“He told me that he was going to say that,’’ one Red Sox player told USA TODAY Sports, “but I didn’t believe him.’’
The player spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect Sale’s joke.
Cool story, bro.
Though hesitant to do so, we admittedly bought in once the Boston media started running with the story. The joke’s on all of us, apparently.
Then again, who can really blame us. After all, this is the same guy who went on a rampage cutting up Chicago White Sox throwback jerseys he didn’t want to wear.
Sale reportedly spent 24 hours in the hospital receiving treatment. He was admitted shortly after his ALCS Game 1 outing, where he struggled with command and decreased velocity. Sale allowed two runs over four innings in the only game Boston would lose during the series.
Sale did rejoin his teammates when the series shifted to Houston, but according to manager Alex Cora the veteran left-hander had lost weight and wasn’t strong enough to start Game 5. David Price got that assignment and was the winning pitcher in Boston’s pennant-clinching win.
Sale would have been available to start ALCS Game 6, which would have taken place on Saturday. He’s currently on track to start Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday in Boston.
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