Bosox ace Sale left little finger broken by liner, uncertain return

NEW YORK (AP) — A quick glance at his finger told Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale, sadly, all he needed to know.

The broken little finger on his pitching hand, damaged by line practice. Another setback in an injury-plagued year for the Boston ace, his future for the rest of the season uncertain.

Sale screamed in pain Sunday after being hit by Aaron Hicks’ understudy at 106.7 mph with two outs in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. The ball deflected into right field for an RBI single that gave New York a 3-0 lead.

“One look at that finger, I knew (it was broken) immediately,” Sale said. “That feeling of that kind of cold water rushing through your body when something like that happens. As soon as I hit the ground I looked down, the finger was gone.

Sale immediately ran off the field, raising his fractured finger. He was injured on the final day of play before the All-Star break in a game Boston lost 13-2.

Boston manager Alex Cora hasn’t ruled out a return to Sale this season. The seven-time All-Star was scheduled to see a hand specialist in Boston later on Sunday or Monday.

Sale, 33, was making his second start since returning from a fractured rib. He threw 78 pitches in five scoreless innings Tuesday at Tampa Bay and threw 24 pitches against the Yankees before being forced to leave.

“We felt really bad about it,” New York ace Gerrit Cole said. “It’s well documented how hard he works and what he had to overcome to get into this position.

“It’s a good thing he has the tenacity he needs to keep going. He has all the character qualities you’ll need to overcome something like this. It’s so unfortunate he doesn’t even have not get a foothold before that happens,” he said.

During the Major League Baseball lockout, Sale broke a rib while practicing alone.

Sale, who is signed through 2024 on a five-year, $145 million deal, has pitched just 48 1/3 innings for the Red Sox since the end of the 2019 season.

Last season, he went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA in nine starts when he returned from Tommy John surgery.

Red Sox reliever Hirokazu Sawamura replaced Sale. Boston is 16½ games behind the AL East-leading Yankees, who have the best record in the majors.


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