Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale will undergo Tommy John surgery, Chaim Bloom, the team’s chief baseball officer, announced Thursday.
The surgery will keep Sale from pitching this season, the start of which has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Recovery from the surgery usually takes at least a year.
Sale, 30, is entering the first year of a five-year contract worth $145 million.
He experienced elbow soreness during spring training on March 1 — his first time facing batters since August — and was shut down.
Sale underwent an MRI on March 3, and the results were examined by Red Sox doctors along with renowned surgeons Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
Interim manager Ron Roenicke said March 5 that neither Andrews nor ElAttrache recommended surgery for Sale’s elbow.
“Doctors have advised him to wait another week before he starts throwing again,” Roenicke said. “He’ll start playing catch again. If everything is good, we’ll progress.”
Sale went on the injured list on Aug. 17 last season with elbow inflammation and missed the remainder of the season.
The seven-time All-Star last faced hitters in a game situation on Aug. 13, ending his worst season at 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 25 starts.
Surgery was not recommended last August, with Sale receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in an attempt to heal his elbow.
After allowing 17 earned runs over his first four starts last season, he pitched to a 3.83 ERA in his final 21 starts before being shut down, holding opponents to a .207 batting average.
Sale is 109-73 with a 3.03 ERA in 312 career appearances, including 232 starts. He has struck out 30.7% of batters faced, the highest rate in the live ball era (minimum 1,000 innings pitched).