FORT MYERS, Fla. — Boston ace Chris Sale is scheduled to start an intrasquad game on Sunday and could have five spring training outings before the Red Sox opener.
The extra spring training rest is by design. Sale was 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA last year and led the major leagues with 214 1/3 innings and 308 strikeouts.
He tailed off at the end of the season, going 7-4 with a 4.09 ERA. That’s been his pattern: He is 59-22 with a 2.74 ERA in 133 first-half starts during eight big league seasons and 32-36 with a 3.28 ERA in 127 second-half starts.
“We’ve kind of gotten together a couple of times and talked about different things and different schedules to kind of build up through spring training,” Sale said.
New manager Alex Cora, pitching coach Dana LeVangie and the training staff have conferred on the plan.
“We’re all involved in the training room, in the weight room,” Sale said. “We’ve all got together and talked about coming up with a formula for longevity and building up. I think last year, I came into spring training kind of too amped up, too ready to go and I think we’re kind of looking for more of a gradual buildup.”
Sale, who turns 29 on March 30, hopes this new approach will keep him strong throughout the season.
“I can’t say for certain because I haven’t really done it,” he said. “But that’s the plan, that’s our end goal seeing things as a whole instead of so kind of in front of you. We’re working on something to create longevity and maintain strength throughout the whole year.”
Sale hopes limited work in spring training will translate into longer outings later in the season.
“I think that’s part of it,” Sale said. “Kind of like a plane takes off, kind of that gradual buildup instead of just a heavy workload up front, and just maintaining that. I’m confident, obviously, in the people I have in my corner and I’m confident in myself to be able to stay on track. It’s kind of weird doing something different, that I’ve never done, but like I said, I have faith and trust in everyone here and in myself to see this process through and make sure that we’re on the positive side of things.”
Boston’s Pomeranz, St Louis’ Norris get hurt in exhibition
JUPITER, Fla. — Drew Pomeranz of the Boston Red Sox and Bud Norris of the St. Louis Cardinals left their spring training starts because of injuries Friday.
Pomeranz left his first exhibition outing due to left forearm tightness. Norris had a left hamstring spasm.
Pomeranz breezed through the first inning, retiring the side in order with 13 pitches, then felt an issue while warming up for the second. He threw four pitches to Marcell Ozuna, then summoned catcher Blake Swihart to the mound, talked with a trainer and departed.
“I wasn’t really pushing it, so I just was like, you know what? There’s no point,” Pomeranz said. “Figure out what’s going on and shut it down.”
Pomeranz, 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA for the Red Sox last season, is to undergo further examinations Saturday.
“I’m not too worried about it,” he said.
Norris allowed homers to Andrew Benintendi and Sam Travis in the first and pitched a scoreless second. He allowed a run in the third and Rafael Devers grounded to first baseman Jose Martinez as Norris broke to cover the bag and felt a twinge in his hamstring for the second time. He experienced the same sensation while covering first base in the opening inning.
Called for the trainer and departed. He allowed five runs and four hits in his 2 1/3 innings.
“Not anything super alarming but they did take the precautionary route and said, Hey we’ve seen enough today,” Norris said. “I don’t think it’s going to hold me back too much at all,” Norris said.