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Boston Red Sox reinstate, start Chris Sale after 2-year absence

WORCESTER - Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale makes a rehab start during the WooSox game against Buffalo on Saturday, July 31, 2021.

Spt Woosox731 11
WORCESTER – Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale makes a rehab start during the WooSox game against Buffalo on Saturday, July 31, 2021. Spt Woosox731 11

The Boston Red Sox officially reinstated left-hander Chris Sale from the 60-day injured list Saturday, completing his two-year return from an elbow injury and eventual Tommy John surgery of March 2020.

Sale is scheduled to pitch in the Red Sox’s home game Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles.

A top-five finisher in the American League Cy Young Award voting six times, Sale will take the 40-man roster spot of infielder-outfielder Marwin Gonzalez, who was designated for assignment Friday.

In addition, Christian Vazquez was reinstated from the bereavement list, while right-hander Yacksel Rios and catcher Connor Wong were optioned to Triple-A Worcester.

Sale last pitched in a major league game on Aug. 13, 2019 against the Cleveland Indians.

Manager Alex Cora has said he will take a cautious approach with his star pitcher even though Sale struck out 35 batters over 20 dominant innings during his three minor league rehab appearances.

“This is not only for the present,” said Cora. “He’s a huge part of the future.”

Sale was 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 25 starts in 2019, far below the standard he had set for himself over his previous nine major league seasons. The 32-year-old is 109-73 with a 3.03 ERA over 332 appearances (312 starts) for the Chicago White Sox and Red Sox.

Vazquez, 30, returns after last playing in a game Tuesday. He is batting .254 with four home runs and 37 RBIs in 100 games this season.

Rios, 28, was 3-0 with a 3.70 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Red Sox this season, while Wong, 25, had four hits over his first 13 career at-bats (.308) over six games. Gonzalez hit .202 in 77 games, with two home runs and 20 RBIs.

–Field Level Media