Chris Sale suffers from a broken finger

4:46 p.m.: Sale told reporters (including Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham) that he thinks he will miss 4-6 weeks, but will launch again in 2022. A more precise timetable could be known once Sale has visited a specialist, either later today or tomorrow.

2:20 p.m.: The Red Sox announced to reporters, including Mass Live’s Chris Cotillo, Sale’s little finger is broken. “Left fifth finger fracture” is the official diagnosis. There is still no word on his expected absence.

1:45 p.m.: Red Sox starter Chris Sale left today’s game having recorded just two outs, as Aaron Hicks comebacker hit her hand and appeared to hurt her. Although the extent of the injury would only be known after the tests were carried out, the TV broadcast showed obvious damage to the hand, with Sale immediately leaving the pitch without hesitation. (Twitter video link from Start 9.)

What makes this even more frustrating for the Red Sox, it was only Sale’s second start of the year. He missed the first few months of the season with a stress fracture in his rib cage. After months of rehabilitation and getting back into shape, he has now had the incredible misfortune of being hit on the throwing hand and sustaining another injury. The southpaw also underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020, missing all of this season and most of the 2021 campaign. In total, he has pitched less than 50 innings since the end of the 2019 campaign.

The timing of the injury is awkward for the Red Sox, who have recently faced a number of rotational issues. Nathan Eovaldi just got back after missing over a month, but rich hill, Michael Wacha, Connor Seabold and Josh Winckowski have all landed on the IL in the past few weeks. The All-Star break begins tomorrow, giving the club a few days to figure things out. But if Sale should run out of time, it will be one rotation away from Eovaldi, Nick Pivette and Kutter Crawford.

After the break, the Red Sox are playing 17 consecutive days, which means they will definitely need reinforcements. Hill and Wacha progress but won’t be ready after break, reports Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham. Garret Whitlock has made nine starts for the club this year but has been working from the bullpen since returning from his own stint in IL. The club could consider bringing him back into the rotation, although he would need to prepare for such a posting. Perspective Brayan Bello recently made two starts at the big league level but was tipped to a 10.13 ERA and pushed back as a minors option. There is also James Paxton, who was signed in the offseason knowing he wouldn’t be available until the second half of the season due to Tommy John’s surgery last year. However, he has yet to begin rehab and is likely still weeks away from returning.

Of course, Boston could look to outside additions as well, as the August 2 trade deadline is now just over two weeks away. Despite mounting rotational injuries, the club started today’s game 48-44, just one game behind the Blue Jays for the playoff spot. (Although the Jays have since beaten the Royals, advancing half a game further.) Some of the best starters believed to be available on the market are castle louis, Tyler Mahle and Frankie Montas, among others. The Red Sox will have plenty of competition in these markets, however, as most suitors are looking for extra arms at this time of year.

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