BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale broke his right wrist in a bike accident over the weekend and will miss the rest of the season, the team said Tuesday, the latest setback during an injury-plagued three years for the Boston ace.
Sale had surgery Monday and is expected to be ready for the start of spring training next year.
“You couldn’t make this up,” Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said Tuesday. “It stinks. It’s really unfortunate. We’re relieved this wasn’t worse, obviously. Very glad this wasn’t worse. But it’s been such a run of bad luck for him and obviously for us.”
Sale's latest injury raises questions about his future with the team once he's healthy. The 33-year-old appeared in just two games this season, throwing 5 2/3 innings. He suffered a broken left pinkie finger when he was hit by a line drive against the New York Yankees on July 17 and had surgery the next day. The start of his season was delayed after he broke a rib while working out on his own during the lockout.
“We need to dispatch some people to go find whoever has the Chris Sale voodoo doll and recover it,” Bloom said.
Bloom said Sale rode his bike home from a throwing session on Saturday at Boston College near his home. He took his bike out again to get lunch and hit something as he was going down a hill, throwing him from the bike and causing what Bloom called “a pretty rough spill.”
Sale's still-healing left pinkie wasn't harmed in the crash, Bloom said.
Sale has thrown only 48 1/3 innings in the regular season and nine in the postseason since the end of 2019. He missed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season because of Tommy John surgery and went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA in nine starts last year. He’s logged only 14 starts, including three in the playoffs, over the past three seasons.
He is in the third year of a five-year, $145 million deal.
The Red Sox came within two wins of the World Series in 2021 but are last in the AL East thanks in part to injuries that have diminished both their starting rotation and regular lineup. Boston entered Tuesday at 54-56, 4 1/2 games out of the final AL wild-card spot.
Bloom said he had expected Sale to pitch again this season after recovering from the broken pinkie.
He's spoken with Sale over the past few days and said he remains encouraged despite “an incredibly bizarre run of events.”
Bloom said the team will develop a plan for Sale's 2023 season in light of all the missed time.
“We're obviously gonna have to do that and be smart with it,” Bloom said. "If we want to play 162-plus, we have to build our team to have a lot of starting pitching depth. That's been a huge organizational focus the last few years. Obviously, it's been tested this year.
“It just shows the importance of that pipeline and continuing to build that depth and we plan on going into next year with a lot of starting pitching options,” Bloom continued. “Knowing that whether it's Chris or someone else, things do happen and we're gonna need people to step up over the course of the season if we want to play in the postseason.”