Drellich: Even with Sale's injury, glass is half-full for Sox


BOSTON -- There is a glass-half-full perspective with Chris Sale’s second trip to the disabled list for a bothersome left shoulder.

Most baseball teams usually suffer some level of attrition throughout the season. Guys get hurt. Trevor Bauer, whose Indians visit Fenway Park for a four-game series starting Monday, is to be out weeks because of a stress fracture in his right fibula.

The Sox have not been like most baseball teams this year, you have likely noticed. They're charmed all around. They rarely slump, first of all. And when they've dealt with various health situations, none of the significant or prolonged ones have affected their most prized horses.


When it comes to the likes of Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Craig Kimbrel -- even the most effective set of tingly fingers in baseball, David Price -- the Sox have gotten through the year with only short trips to the DL and relatively minor ailments.

That may be why Sale’s situation feels so alarming to some fans. The team’s path has taken a detour off easy street.

So, now, the Sox finally got their number called. They have a problem with their ace. But given the range of possible injuries Sale could suffer, even the range of possible shoulder problems, this one still seems relatively minor. If Sale is out four weeks like Bauer, it'll be because of an abundance of precaution more than anything else -- at least based on all the information at hand presently.

Any time there’s a shoulder injury involved with a star pitcher, there’s reason for concern. Sale said it himself the day he went to the DL for the first time: he was concerned. Concern is the most obvious element at play here.

The concern has increased now, as well, because the original plan of recovery did not allow Sale to bounce back as he wanted to.


But consider: Sale still returned from the DL and touched 100 mph. He still struck out a dozen in five innings that outing. 

The fact he has not gone for an MRI suggests the medical experts have a high level of confidence that such an important asset does not have a serious problem. Rather, he has something that will probably amount to a matter of management and pain management come September. (The choice not to go for an MRI has the potential to look really bad if something more does end up being at play, however.)

Overall, the Sale situation is nothing like what the Yankees are dealing with presently with Aaron Judge, who has not played since July 26 because of a chip fracture in his right wrist. There’s a New York Post headline from Sunday, the day that shortstop Didi Gregorious hurt his left heel, that reads: “This is the injury test the Yankees wanted no part of.”

The Sox have had their share of medical dramas. The Sox haven’t had a spotless rehab record this year. Far from it. Dustin Pedroia and Steven Wright have been out most of the season. But those two are also coming back from difficult procedures. Pedroia and Wright were also never expected to be primary contributors in 2018. 

That's why Sale’s injury can feel like a move to high alert, maybe moreso than it would be for other teams.

The Sox are finally living the reality of everyone else's baseball season.

Shoulders are frightening areas for a player to be hurt. Any injury to a player of Sale's caliber is frightening for the franchise. Nonetheless, the Sox are not in a crisis. Not at this point, anyway.


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