Chris Sale’s second start of spring training went as well as anyone could’ve asked for.
The southpaw struck out five hitters and allowed just one hit and no walks while pitching three scoreless innings in the Red Sox’ exhibition game against the Twins on Saturday.
Of the five strikeouts, four them came swinging. Sale got two hitters to strike out swinging with his slider and put down three hitters with his fastball, which moved in the low-to-mid 90s in speed on Saturday. His fastest pitch was actually his last pitch – a 95 mph fastball that Kyle Garlick whiffed at.
While Sale’s day on the diamond ended after three innings, he continued pitching in the bullpen for a mock fourth inning afterward as he threw just 32 pitches during Saturday’s game.
Sale was happy with his performance on Saturday, especially with how prompt it went.
“That’s what you like, that’s what we like to do. Quick innings are nice,” Sale told reporters. “And the more quick innings you can get, the more innings you’re going to be able to throw when the season gets here.”
Sale’s start on Saturday came just five days after he threw two shutout innings with two strikeouts and two hits against the Tigers on Monday.
The two starts are the first time Sale’s pitched in a game since last July, when he fractured a finger on his pitching hand and broke his right wrist shortly after. Prior to that, Sale missed the first half of the 2022 season due to a rib stress fracture, which came after he missed all of the 2020 and most of the 2021 season following Tommy John surgery.
As a result, Sale’s pitched just 14 games over the previous three seasons, so working up his stamina has been a goal this spring on top of pitching well.
Regaining his stamina and performance wasn’t the only thing that motivated Sale on Saturday though.
“I had a bunch of friends here, a bunch of family, and my son’s travel ball team was here, so I was fired up. I couldn’t suck today,” Sale said.
In his self-assessing his outing, Sale said that his slider was “nice” and that he threw some “good changeups” to go along with his two-seam fastball, which helped induce three groundouts.
Sale remarked though that he still “has some work to do.” His manager felt similarly.
“Really good,” Cora said of Sale’s performance. “Used all of his pitches. He was very sound mechanics-wise. It was a good one and now we move on to the next one.”
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