Chris Sale pitched for the first time since Sept. 6 Friday night. That was because the pitcher contracted COVID-19 ... for a second time.
So, what exactly happened and how did Sale manage to stay ready for his return against the Orioles? After allowing one run over five innings in the Red Sox' 7-1 win, he offered some details.
Question: How strange was it taking the time off and then coming back to pitch?
Sale: “Yeah, I felt like I was making another rehab start with a new team. It was kind of weird, not being around and doing, I guess, all of my baseball activity at the house. It was different for midseason anyway but I got all the work I needed to get in. I was lucky enough, I had people bringing stuff to my house, whether it be weights, jump ropes, heck, I even got a portable mound from Babson so it worked out well.”
Question: Were you trying to induce contact instead of your usual aggression?
Sale: “No, I just think that this was just kind of how the game played out. I know you guys were watching obviously, my fastball wasn’t really jumping out of my hand tonight so I really had to just rely on my secondary pitches, my slider, my changeup and honestly, what did I have, two strikeouts, something like that? I was leaning on my defense to make some plays and doing that. I think it was just kind of how the game played out.”
Question: You were asymptomatic, correct?
Sale: “Correct, I’ve had it twice now and both times [asymptomatic].”
Question: Are you vaccinated?
Sale: "No, I am not.”
Question: How did you deal with positive COVID test?
Sale: "There was actually a lot going into it. I love Chicago. I love going back and seeing guys and I love the city and I love being around my team. I love playing baseball. Having it taken away from me was tough but I understand it comes with the territory. The weirdest part for me in all this was getting a phone call, having someone tell me that I’m sick. That was kind of awkward, I came in here, I threw my bullpen, I did my workout, everything and I get a phone call and they’re like, 'Hey, you tested positive for COVID.' I don’t know how. I didn’t feel bad. I’ve never had a cough or the runs or any of the other symptoms that come with it so it was just kind of a head-scratcher. Luckily, I have good doctors here, they were checking in on me every day making sure I was doing alright. I had to take my temperature and do the pulse OX and some other things but you know, I work hard to maintain a good diet and exercise routine. I take vitamins every day so I was prepared for this. In the end, it worked out.”
Question: What did you do while you were home?
Sale: “Yeah, I stayed on my exact schedule. I threw a six-inning simulated game in my backyard, actually, with that. I got a pretty good-sized backyard so I was able to stretch out to 90 feet and play some long toss as well. Threw a bullpen as well, in my backyard. It was all really kind of the same except for the … not that I lift big heavy weights or anything but I didn’t have the squat rack there or some other things but I made do. I’ve been in worse situations.”