Catching up with Alex Cora, Chris Sale
SPRINGFIELD - Chris Sale offered perhaps the biggest dose of optimism among those Red Sox players attending Winter Weekend.
Nobody is going to suggest the lefty has shaken the unknown when it comes to what awaits, with the uneasiness of the reality that he has pitched in just 11 games over the last three seasons still hovering.
But the mere idea that as Sale weaved his way through fans and media Saturday he could profess to currently be healthy and actively able to throw a baseball off a mound was something.
“I sure hope so man," Sale when asked if he got all the bad luck out of his system. "Catch yourself kind of looking over your corner just kind of, you put yourself in a situation where you’re just kind of waiting for the next bad thing to happen and that is not clean living right there. So, you know, it was unfortunate, you know. Could it be worse? Absolutely. If anything, I've said this before, but I feel like I've gained a tremendous amount of perspective through all this. I've had a really rough, really rough few years. But if you've looked throughout the entire world and what happened in my own backyard just a couple of months ago (the hurricane in Fort Myers), things can be much, much worse. So, with all that being said, I'm very very excited going forward. First spring training, I've been able to be excited about in a while. So I'm just very appreciative of that. I'm going to try to just hold on to that tight and roll with it."
And, in case you forgot, the misfortune for Sale came in waves.
First was Tommy John surgery. Then the broken finger in just his second start back. And, finally, that bike accident.
The last incident - where he suffered a broken wrist falling of his bike - was the only one that didn't seem cut and dried. All there was were reports of what transpired after his workout at Boston College, with Sale ultimately returning to Fort Myers without the explanation of exactly what happened.
Saturday finally offered the opportunity for details.
“It was actually a really beautiful day, I very vividly remember it," Sale said. "I went to BC, played catch for the first time after my pinky surgery. Really good vibes, very good. Got a good workout in. I mean, this thing was in a good spot. Now where I honestly don't even feel it. The pinkie is a non issue at this point. Yeah, went back to the house. My family's not there. So team wasn't there. I had a wonderful day lined up. Called one of my friends. We were gonna play video games all day long, going to get Chipotle for lunch. And it was like 70 degrees, something like that. Hop on a bike going down a hill. I don't really remember the crash a whole lot, but I just know that handlebars went hard left. I didn't even go over the handlebars. It just really kind of threw me straight to the ground like I just went kind of like this. Next thing I know my wrist is looking that way and had to make some phone calls."
He added, "I enjoy riding bikes. I had three little kids at the house. That’s an activity we do quite a bit but you know here in Florida we have flat paved roads. Again, just a freak accident, just something you know, it’d be like walking down the street and breaking your ankle on the freakin curb. You know, it's something you've done a million times. It's just whatever reason that's just, that was the plan that day."
Sale talked throughout the day of almost being 34 years old, but having the arm of a 30-year-old due to activity. He explained how early his throwing program ramped up this season, and how eager he is to hit the ground running in spring training.
Sale is signed for two more years, making $27.5 million per season, with a $20 million club option for 2025. One thing is certain after listening: The pitcher is intent on changing the conversation, using this new lease on life as a springboard to ... something different.
"I just got back to playing. I’d like to play another 10 years if I could. I mean listen, man, this is all I've ever known. I'm a baseball player," he said. "I had a kid ask me what would you be doing if you weren't a baseball player? Honest to God, I have no idea. There was nothing else in the cards for me. I had no other wants, no other dreams, no other wishes. I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to do that. From three years old, from the time I could talk to today, I want to be a major league baseball player. That got taken away from me for a very long time. It was very, very hard for me to go through that. I've got my opportunity back in a good spot I have a good starting block now like I said I got finally first spring training in a while that I’m a full-go in and it’s something to be excited about so, I just got my I just got my toy back I’d like to play with it for a little while."