February 17, 2020

Sale: "I Feel Better Than I Have In A Long Time"

Chris Sale missed the last six weeks of the 2019 regular season. He says the time off did him good. He's thrown off a mount perhaps a half-dozen times this offseason.
My body is feeling good. Started flipping some breaking balls and getting after it a little bit. I'm doing normal stuff that I was before and it felt good. We'll just keep building from that. ... I feel confident that when this thing starts, I'm going to be ready for it, and I'll be back to doing what's expected of me. ... As bad as I was last year, I learned a lot, and that's going to help me going forward. Last year was tough; you guys saw it. I was out there throwing batting practice half the time. But you learn from that. ...

I feel better than I have in a long time, actually. I've never taken that time off before. I don't know if, since I started playing baseball, if I've had that time off. ... [T]here's silver linings in everything. You try to take the positives in every crappy scenario that comes up. I think that time off helped my entire body regenerate, my shoulder, my elbow, my forearm, every muscle in my body got a long break and a time to heal. I think in the end it will help me out in the long run.
Sale welcomed the invitation to talk to MLB's investigators about the 2018 Red Sox and allegations of cheating.
I want to help make this right. Is it frustrating? Yeah. It took 30 minutes out of one of my days in the offseason. Whatever. But to get the truth and to make this a better game, I'm in. ... [G]iven the circumstances, with what happened in Houston and AC [Alex Cora] being our manager, I think they're just doing their due diligence, just to see if he brought it over here. ... Until that comes out, no one's going to believe what I say. ... [U]ntil the hammer drops, that's when the truth comes out.
Several Red Sox players, including J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi, and Jackie Bradley, have stated publicly that the team did not cheat during 2018. It's worth noting that none of the 2017 Astros spoke out before MLB released its report on them. But like Sale says, we can only wait and see.

Xander Bogaerts hurt his left ankle during a workout a couple of weeks ago.
It's getting better. [I] was doing some workouts back at home and it got a little sore so I'm taking it a little slowly now. ... Spring Training, I don't think there's any reason for us to force it. I'll get going as soon as possible. ... I've got to be smart about it and hopefully have a long, healthy season.
Bogaerts admitted this year with be a little strange without Mookie Betts.
I remember when he came up and made his debut in Yankee Stadium [June 29, 2014]. It's crazy to think how time flew that quick. Obviously, I wish him nothing but the best. He's one of the best teammates I've had. ... He's someone that we're going to miss a lot and it's not easy to replace someone like that, on and off the field.
Alex Verdugo will probably not be ready for Opening day on March 26. A back injury last May was revealed to have been an L5 stress fracture. Although the Dodgers never announced that publicly, the Red Sox knew about the injury before trading for him. Boston's doctors examined him again on Friday.
Manager Ron Roenicke:
It's in a progression where they're really liking how it's coming along. It's an injury that takes time. It takes a lot of time for this to heal. It's an injury that is fairly common in baseball because of the rotation -- it's a rotation issue.
We don't want to give fans or give people a false hope or just even a deadline that we miss again. ... [W]e're going to take our time on this ... So that way ... it's the whole year and it's continuous. And we don't have any setbacks or anything like that.
Matt Collins (Over The Monster) attempts to predict the Opening day roster. Noting that Verudgo will likely begin the season on the IL, he sees the lineup as:
Andrew Benintendi, LF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Rafael Devers, 3B
J.D. Martinez, DH
Mitch Moreland, 1B
Michael Chavis, 2B
Christian Vázquez, C
Jackie Bradley, CF
Kevin Pillar, RF
Bench: Kevin Plawecki, C; José Peraza, 2B; Tzu-Wei Lin, INF; Jonathan Arauz, INF

Rotation: Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, Martín Pérez, Ryan Weber (opener)

Bullpen: Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Marcus Walden, Heath Hembree, Ryan Brasier, Austin Brice

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