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Alex Cora '100 percent sure' Chris Sale is healthy, will be fine

Rob Bradford
October 02, 2018 - 2:29 pm

Chris Sale only played catch on flat ground Monday, with his bullpen session coming Tuesday underneath the Fenway Park stands.

And while we won't know for sure if there will be a definitive improvement from the pitcher whose fastball sat between 90-92 in his most recent outing, Sale's manager certainly believes the Red Sox are ready to get an improved version of the ace.

"Just talking to him, I mentioned it on Sunday or Saturday, with him you tell him two innings, 40 pitches and his thought process is two innings, 40 pitches," said Cora, who revealed he didn't know if the pitcher had received a cortisone shot. "He forgets about his mechanics and he wants to get to his repetitions. The same thing with the 4 innings and 60, and the six innings and 100. The fact that when the game was on the line in that last one and he hit 94 a few times, it wasn’t 99 but he went from 88-89 to 94, I know it’s there. The fact that he came to me right away after the game was over and he felt it on the mound and he saw it on the video I’m like, ‘OK, this is mechanics.’ He’s been going through his progress the right way. It’s nothing compared to what it was the first time he went on the DL and the days after Baltimore, so that’s why I’m 100 percent sure he’s healthy and he’s going to be fine."

Perhaps the second-most important pitcher, Craig Kimbrel, also remains somewhat of a mystery heading into Friday.

The Red Sox' closer has pitched just twice since Sept. 21, finishing his regular season by striking out the side in the ninth inning of the final regular season game.

The question is if Kimbrel was being saved a bit in order for an additional workload come the postseason. He did pitch seven times in the eighth inning, but only twice after the All-Star break and not once in September.

"We'll see Friday," Cora said when asked about the intentions regarding his closer.