Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale broke his right wrist in a bike accident last week and underwent season-ending surgery Monday, the team announced, ending his year after a myriad of injuries and just 5⅔ innings pitched.
Sale, 33, already had missed most of the season after a broken rib cage suffered during a lockout workout sidelined him until July 12. Following a scoreless 2022 debut, Sale left his second start after two-thirds of an inning when a line drive from New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks fractured the pinky on his throwing hand.
Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said Sale had played catch on Saturday at Boston College. He then took his bike to get lunch and hit something going down a hill before falling off his bike.
“You couldn’t make this up,” 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.”
A seven-time All-Star, Sale had hoped to return by September following surgery on the finger. He is in the third year of a five-year, $145 million contract extension during which he has thrown a total of 48⅓ innings. Sale missed the 2020 season after Tommy John surgery and returned last year for nine starts, going 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA.
“We need to dispatch some people to go find whoever has the Chris Sale voodoo doll and recover it,” Bloom added.
The open reduction internal fixation surgery, which uses hardware to align a broken bone, stabilized Sale’s wrist and is expected to take two months to heal. The Red Sox, who at 54-56 are in last place in the American League East, rank 22nd in ERA and innings pitched from their starters this season.
Acquired in a blockbuster trade that sent third baseman Yoan Moncada, right-hander Michael Kopech and two other minor leaguers to the Chicago White Sox in December 2016, Sale has been elite for the Red Sox when he’s been on the mound, recording the final out in the 2018 World Series and posting a 3.09 ERA with 820 strikeouts and 127 walks over 568 regular-season innings.
Sale can opt out of the final two years and $55 million of his contract this winter. He is expected to be ready for the start of spring training in 2023.
“As with everything that has happened, you look forward and he should be fine,” Bloom said. “I know we keep saying that and then things keep happening. This is just an incredibly bizarre run of events. He should be full-go next spring.”
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report