Though the coronavirus pandemic has put just about everything in baseball on hold, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom doesn’t envision it having much of an impact on the progression of injured left-hander Chris Sale.

Sale, who is shut down after being diagnosed with a flexor strain in his pitching elbow last week, was expected to miss at least the first month of the season before Major League Baseball shut down spring training and announced that they would not begin play as scheduled. Sale, who has not thrown since tossing a 15-pitch live batting practice session on March 1, will stay on track with the original plan the team had laid out for him.

“From a medical perspective, nothing really changes with that,” Bloom said Friday. “We knew he was going to be unable to pitch in a game for a little while and we also know, obviously, there’s uncertainty regarding his pitching status generally that we want to resolve. We’re still going to want to resolve that. We’re still going to want to progress him. We haven’t gotten to that point yet, but we’re still going to work, even during this time period, without games, to get some progress and get some more definition on his status.”

Sale’s flexor strain diagnosis was revealed March 5, three days after he underwent an MRI because of pain he felt in the elbow during the live BP session. Doctors recommended a period of rest, with Sale’s reaction to ramping things up again likely determining if he’ll require Tommy John surgery.

Red Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke told reporters Tuesday that Sale would be re-evaluated in 10 to 14 days after being shut down, which would fall sometime before Sunday. Roenicke mentioned the possibility of Sale throwing Friday for the first time since the setback, though it’s unclear if that happened or not.

Sale, who lives in southwest Florida and will have access to the club’s facility during the temporary league shutdown, will likely throw for the first time since his setback in the coming days and begin ramping things up if his elbow feels good enough. Though the coronavirus-caused delay could potentially decrease the number of regular season games Sale will miss, the team still wants him on track with his progression to get a better sense of the overall health of his elbow.

Sale’s hectic spring training began with the flu and an ensuing case of pneumonia in February, before the coronavirus began to spread aggressively through the nation. At the beginning of camp, the Red Sox told Sale to stay away from the facility to avoid spreading his illness to other players or team staffers.

“You’re not going to get through an entire spring training without a sneeze or a sniffle,” Bloom said. “We want to make sure we are taking the appropriate precautions and have been, really, since this started.”


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