The last four years have been one long nightmare for Chris Sale.
The Boston Red Sox left-hander has been plagued with injuries since signing his five-year, $145 million contract extension with the team before the 2019 season. His latest injury, suffered off the field on Tuesday, is the most bizarre of the bunch.
Already on the injured list with a fractured left pinkie finger, Sale suffered a broken right wrist in a bicycle accident. The 33-year-old underwent surgery on Monday and will miss the remainder of the 2022 campaign. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom says Sale will be ready for spring training in 2023, but that’s a bold claim at this point given his extensive injury history.
With yet another setback for Sale, here’s a complete timeline of his tenure with the Red Sox that spotlights the highs before his contract extension and the lows after it.
2017: Boston’s new ace
The Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox in a blockbuster trade before the 2017 season. Already a perennial Cy Young candidate, he quickly established himself as Boston’s clear-cut ace.
Sale posted a 17-8 record with a 2.90 ERA and a league-high 308 strikeouts in 214 1/3 innings pitched, which also led MLB. He placed second in American League Cy Young voting and ninth in the MVP vote. The trade, which sent top prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech to southside Chicago, looked like a slam dunk.
2018: World Series champion
Sale picked up where he left off with a spectacular 2018 season. He went 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA and 237 strikeouts in 27 starts. Those numbers helped him place fourth in Cy Young voting, but he may have won the award had he not missed time due to left shoulder inflammation.
Nonetheless, Sale went on to make Manny Machado look silly for the final out of the 2018 World Series. The shoulder issue was a thing of the past, but it was only the beginning of his injury woes.
2019: And it begins…
Sale’s downward spiral began after he inked a five-year contract extension with the team prior to the 2019 campaign. His performance took a nosedive as he posted a 6-11 record and his ERA ballooned to 4.40. On Aug. 17, the Red Sox placed Sale on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation. He was transferred to the 60-day IL on Sept. 1, and it was only downhill from there.
2020: A lost season
Sale missed the abbreviated 2020 MLB season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
2021: Return from Tommy John
On Aug. 14, 2021, Sale finally was activated from the IL to make his long-awaited return from Tommy John surgery. He showed flashes of his dominant self, posting a 3.16 ERA in nine starts. Toward the end of the season and in the playoffs, however, Sale struggled to return to form as a pitcher capable of leading the rotation. He allowed eight runs on 10 hits and four walks in nine innings during the postseason.
Sale also was placed on the COVID-19 injured list on Sept. 10.
2022: A series of unfortunate events
Red Sox fans kept their fingers crossed hoping for a full season of Sale in 2022. It didn’t take much time for that dream to be crushed.
Sale began the season on the 60-day injured list after suffering a right rib stress fracture prior to spring training. A non-baseball medical issue delayed his return from the IL.
His long-awaited season debut took place against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 12, when he provided optimism with five scoreless innings of work. But in his next outing against the New York Yankees, Sale took a comebacker to the hand and fractured his left pinkie finger, sidelining him indefinitely.
On Aug. 9, the Red Sox revealed Sale underwent surgery to repair a broken right wrist. Sale suffered the injury in a bicycle accident, according to the team. The expectation is he will be ready for 2023 spring training.
This content was originally published here.