A few things to consider regarding Chris Sale's situation

Rob Bradford
August 20, 2019 - 8:16 am

Chris Sale is done for the 2019 season. That we know.

But there are still a few elements of the Sale situation that remain undefined. Sale is scheduled to talk with the media Tuesday afternoon which should clarify some of the mystery. But until then here are some thoughts regarding what we're dealing with when it comes to the Red Sox' ace:

- According to someone familiar with the situation, the exam executed when Sale's signed his contract extension at the end of spring training showed an extremely healthy elbow ligament. Many times pitchers will agree to contracts despite having slight tears (see Josh Beckett in 2006) with the understanding that wear and tear is part of the deal. But Sale's MRI seemed to paint a very positive picture.

- So if Sale was in good health to begin the season then what happened? Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski reiterated that Sale's discomfort wasn't surfaced until after his most recent start. Still, something led the pitcher to that point. Only four other pitchers have thrown more pitches since the beginning of the 2013 season so that might have something to do with it. But the most likely cause may be the number of tweaks the pitcher has had to make to find his form this season. As he pointed out to WEEI.com in spring training, it isn't the awkwardness of a delivery that will lead to injury but rather if there are inconsistencies with any part of the body when throwing the baseball. The adjustments this season may have been small, but they were there nonetheless.

- The most important question for Sale is regarding if Dr. Andrews found any sort of tear. If he did then the hope of the PRP injection would have been to help the healing process in that regard as a first step, but it wouldn't eliminate the possibility of Tommy John surgery. The six weeks of trying to identify the right path is a no-lose scenario, with Sale staring at the loss of the 2020 season if surgery is done now or at the beginning of October.

- There is a very real possibility the PRP injection was performed without a tear being involved. The ligament can simply be stretched, leading to inflammation.