Map sale

Chris Sale nears rehab, Josh Winckowski to make MLB debut – Boston Herald

The light at the end of the tunnel is finally visible for Chris Sale.

The injured southpaw is expected to step on the mound three times next week before the Red Sox reevaluate him, but the next step could be a rehab posting to kick off his return to the big leagues for the first time since last October.

“I’m not 100 per cent sure, but probably,” manager Alex Cora said of Sale’s ongoing rehab mission.

Sale fractured a rib in February while MLB owners were still locking players up. Sale was training at Florida Gulf Coast University when he was injured, but the Sox were unaware of it until the lockout was lifted in March.

He has been placed on the 60-day injured list to start the season and will not be able to return until at least June 8, although that delay is unlikely given he would likely need several rehab starts. minors.

He’s thrown about 25 pitches in a bullpen session this week and feels great, Cora said.

“Good fastball, good slider, good change,” the manager said. “Now the plan is for him to go up the mound three times next week… I haven’t spoken to him today. I just got the reports and everyone feels like everything went well.

Long-awaited debut

The Sox’s rotation has been a strength all year, and they’ll add one more to the crew on Saturday.

Josh Winckowski, a 23-year-old prospect sent by the Royals in the Andrew Benintendi trade last year, will make his big league debut and start Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Orioles at 6:10 p.m. ET.

“We talked about him,” Cora said. “We thought about it in the Texas series, but we thought we were going to be OK the way we did and I think we did… I think, forget the baseball part, for him, to map him out and have his family here and everyone here, it’s a lot easier than flying to Texas and pitching and then everyone misses it.

A 15th-round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2016, Winckowski has been sensational since joining the Sox system last year. He had a 3.94 ERA and 1.23 WHIP between Double-A and Triple-A in 21, and will enter his start on Saturday after posting a 3.13 ERA and 0.85 WHIP for Triple- At Worcester this year.

The 6-foot-4 right-hander throws a fastball in the mid-90s and adds change, slider and split finger.

“He’s been really good to us,” Cora said. “He’s a guy we really like. He competes with himself, with everyone. He wants to be big. It should be fun.”

Nathan Eovaldi will start the first game of the doubleheader, which begins at 12:10 p.m. ET.

Barnes gets frustrated

Matt Barnes looked lost on the mound Thursday night, when he threw 27 pitches, just nine for strikes while walking four batters and recording just one out against the White Sox.

It was the kind of outing that makes it easy to wonder why Barnes is on a big league roster, but the Red Sox aren’t giving up on their closest All-Star.

“I think yesterday he got frustrated with himself,” Cora said. “I spoke to him a bit today and his mechanics were away. There was a lot of effort yesterday and he became a pitcher, not a pitcher. You could see him, he was trying to break his breaking ball and spin it as hard as he could and he was trying to throw his fastball as hard as he could and he was everywhere. It was a ball from the start.

Cora said he thought Barnes had good things because he was hitting 96 mph on the radar gun, but receiver Kevin Plawecki told him otherwise.

The Sox believe it’s a mechanical problem for Barnes, who was named to the American League All-Star Team for the first time in his career last year and then signed an extension of two-year contract worth at least $18.75 million. It faded over time and hasn’t looked good since, although Cora insisted Barnes was healthy.

“It was a struggle and he will admit it,” Cora said. “We have a lot of people working with him and we’re not going to stop. I have said from the start that he is very important to us.