Red Sox ace Chris Sale is six weeks removed from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, early on in the rehab process that he seems to be attacking with infinite optimism.
In a wide-ranging interview with ESPN, Sale noted that with no games being played and no paychecks being sent out by MLB teams, his salary in the first year of his five-year, $145 million contract extension with Boston can’t be held against him.
“I'm not missing any games that everyone else isn't missing,” Sale said of the coronavirus shutdown of all sports, including baseball. “Plus, I'm not getting paid, so no one can call me an overpaid asshole right now [laughs].”
Sale told ESPN that he’s “really happy” with where he’s at early in his rehab process. Looking back on the surgery Sale had on his March 31st birthday, the lanky lefty seems to have a positive attitude about the entire process.
“I'm not playing baseball and someone else is going to have to do my job. That part of it sucks,” Sale said. “But from a personal standpoint, I'm done trying to figure out what's wrong with me. It's like ‘OK, this is the end of all the crap that you've gone through for a couple years.’ It's like a new beginning for me. I wouldn't be able to play baseball productively without this surgery. I'm a baseball player, what can be better than getting a brand-new elbow for my birthday?”
Sale was also asked about the Red Sox parting ways with manager Alex Cora this offseason in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal in Houston that later trickled over into Boston.
“That was a blow. It was a big blow and it sucked,” Sale said of Cora’s eventual suspension after he’d already departed the Sox organization. “We didn't want to see him go because of the love and respect that we had for him, and he earned that. You don't just come into a big league clubhouse and get that kind of respect. AC earned it.”
Sale also seemed to take the Houston World Series title scandal – which included rolling through the lefty and the Sox back in 2017 – in stride as much as can be expected.
“Let me be clear: I believe what the Astros did was wrong,” Sale told ESPN. “That is first and foremost. But it doesn't matter. What am I going to do? Am I going to go back and change it? Am I going to go steal the Astros' rings and put a ‘B’ on them instead of an ‘H’? For me, it's just like this Tommy John surgery. I can sit around and pout about my elbow blowing up and missing games or I accept that I can't change it. I can't go back in the past. There's no point in sitting around complaining about losing.
“That World Series may be tainted a little bit, but there's nothing I'll ever be able to do to change it. So, why am I going to spend any time thinking about it?”