Sale ready for return to Red Sox; Pedroia done for season

BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Red Sox are ready to slowly ease ace Chris Sale back into action.

Manager Alex Cora says the left-hander will be activated from the disabled list and pitch about two innings Tuesday night against Toronto at Fenway Park. Cora said Sale would throw a maximum of 40 pitches for the AL East leaders.

Cora made the announcement before Boston hosted Houston on Friday. The Red Sox have the best record in the majors and, if they win their division, would begin the playoffs in exactly four weeks.

Sale originally went on the disabled list July 31 with mild left shoulder inflammation. He returned for a start Aug. 12 against Baltimore, going five innings and striking out 12. But he quickly as placed back on the disabled list a week later with the same ailment.

“Little by little, we’re getting healthy,” Cora said.

Pedroia looks to next year

Dustin Pedroia is back in the Red Sox clubhouse. But the Boston second baseman won’t be playing in any games for the rest of the season. Cora said Friday that Pedroia has been officially shut down for the remainder of 2018. Cora revealed the 35-year-old veteran had an additional arthroscopic surgery on his left knee while rehabbing in Arizona in July to cleanup some scar tissue.

The four-time All-Star returned to action in May for three games, but went just 1 for 11 with two walks.

“It’s tough not being able to help out the guys,” Pedroia said. “But it’s been great watching them and how great the year’s been. We’ve done a lot of great things. It’s that time of year where you’re pushing to win the World Series. It’ll be great to be here and watch the guys try to accomplish that,” he said.

The Red Sox have the best record in the majors and a big lead over the Yankees in the AL East.

Cora said Pedroia has continued to make progress since the July procedure. He said the decision to sit him down had more to do with there not being enough time or rehab opportunities to get him ready to play.

“We just ran out of time,” Cora said. “We went through the process the right way, it just didn’t happen.”

Pedroia said his rehab program remains on schedule for him to be ready to go when spring training opens in 2019.

“I’ll be ready – 100 percent.”

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