The veteran left-hander made his second rehab start Saturday as he works his way back from a stress fracture in his right rib cage. He started for the Florida Complex League Red Sox, allowing three hits with six strikeouts and no walks in 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
Overall, Red Sox manager Alex Cora came away pleased with Sale’s outing.
“He felt like the ball was coming out a lot better. His stuff was good,” Cora told reporters, as transcribed by Boston.com. “Being able to go over two innings is important. That’s something we’ve been talking about. That tells you where he’s at physically, right. It’s a lot different than last year. We’re very happy with the way he threw today.”
If Sale continues on this path, all signs point toward him bringing a major boost to Boston’s pitching staff for the second half of the campaign. Cora hyped up the seven-time All-Star’s return last week, stating he looked like “vintage Sale” with a 97-mph fastball and a much-improved changeup.
The next test for Sale likely will be a start for Double-A Portland later this week, according to Julian McWilliams of The Boston Globe. That would take place either Thursday or Friday vs. the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Hadlock Field.