WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Chris Sale hit five triple-A batters before walking as he hit a run with two outs in the fourth inning on Wednesday night in what could be his possibly last rehab start before returning to the Boston rotation .
Pitching for the Worcester Red Sox against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, a Yankees farm team, Sale allowed a run to three hits and five walks. He loaded bases in the fourth with three hits — two of them infield singles — and then hit hitter-designate Armando Alvarez for the second out with a 96-mile fastball that was his 65th pitch of the game.
That should be the limit for the 33-year-old left-hander, who broke a rib while practicing solo during the major league lockout. But when pitching coach Paul Abbott came out to speak to Sale, he went alone.
No. 9 batsman David Freitas counted to 3-2 and then took a pitch close enough for the sold-out crowd to cheer in anticipation of a strike. But Plate umpire Sam Burch remained silent, the runner trotted from third place to a 1-1 tie, and Sale punched the air in frustration.
Manager Chad Tracy walked to the mound and Sale gave a standing ovation. As he walked away, he gave Burch a friendly wave with his glove.
Sale has pitched just 42 2/3 innings for the Red Sox since the end of the 2019 season. He missed all of 2020 recovering from Tommy John’s surgery and then went 5-1 last year with a 3.16 ERA.
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