Chris Sale threw a 15-pitch bullpen on Thursday in Fort Myers as the Red Sox left-hander resumed ramping up for a return.

Thursday’s bullpen is Sale’s first since late April, before he experienced a “personal medical issue” that forced him to stop throwing for several weeks. He had previously thrown a few shorter bullpens and had begun playing catch again recently.

“That’s the first step and now build him up,” Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said.

Cora wasn’t certain yet how Sale’s rehab will be mapped out, but it’s likely the pitcher will throw his next bullpen next week. Sale – who was initially placed on the 60-day injured list in early April after suffering a stress fracture in his right rib cage in March – was previously expected to return in early June but that timeline has been pushed back weeks to likely late June.

XANDER BOGAERTS was back in the lineup Saturday as the Red Sox avoided a scare with their star shortstop.

Bogaerts was listed as day-to-day with lower back discomfort after colliding with Alex Verdugo during a play in the eighth inning of Friday’s 7-3 win over Seattle. On a pop up to short left field, Bogaerts was backpedaling for the ball when Verdugo slid underneath him while also trying to make the play, sending the shortstop crashing to the ground on his back. He dropped the ball as he fell and was down in pain for several moments.


Bogaerts stayed in the game briefly before coming out in the bottom of the eighth. He had treatment and was feeling well enough to start on Saturday.

“(He) called me this morning, asked me to give him a chance to see how he was moving,” Cora said.

With an off day coming on Monday, it’s possible Bogaerts rests for Sunday’s game to give him two days in a row, but Cora was going to wait to see how he felt after Saturday’s game.

“One of the things about Xander is that he doesn’t like off days,” Cora said. “Not only because of the wall, but he feels this is home and I have to post at home. He told me that a few times throughout the years. But obviously we’ll be smart about it. If he needs two, we’ll give him two.”

Cora noted that Bogaerts’ method of backpedaling on plays in the outfield is unconventional, but it works for him.

“He feels comfortable doing that,” Cora said. “That’s the way he does it. It’s hard because there’s 35,000 people screaming. Usually as a second baseman, shortstop, you’re going sideways and you can kind of like feel it, feel where he’s at. He’s right there. … But that’s the way he’s done it his whole career and he’s actually really good at doing it.”

Now that they know he’s fine, Bogaerts was the victim of some teasing from Rafael Devers in the clubhouse when they arrived on Saturday.

“We’re just lucky that nothing serious happened,” Cora said. “Now we can joke about it. Raffy was actually talking about Bogey early on today that he can play in the Premier League or La Liga with that reaction. Now we can laugh.”

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