CHICAGO — Boston Red Sox starting pitchers Chris Sale and David Price could return to the rotation as early as next weekend, Manager Alex Cora said Sunday before the team played the Chicago White Sox.

For both left-handers, the Red Sox are looking at their next homestand, which begins Friday with three games against Houston before three games against Toronto and a three-game set against the Mets.

Sale, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 15 for mild inflammation in his left shoulder, could pitch a few innings as an “opener” as he builds up innings, Cora said. Sale is 12-4 with a 1.97 ERA that leads the AL.

“It’s going to be during the homestand, but we don’t know which series,” Cora said of Sale. “We’re very positive he should be on the mound soon.”

Price, who has a bruised left wrist, is 14-6 with a 3.60 ERA. The Red Sox hope Price also will be able to throw off a mound this week in Atlanta as he works his way back. A line drive struck his pitching wrist against Miami on Wednesday.

“It should be Houston or the next series,” Cora said. “We’re not worried. He’s in good spirits. He should be fine.”

THE CLEVELAND Indians knew what they were getting when they traded for Josh Donaldson – a former MVP who could help them reach the World Series. They just don’t know when they’ll be getting him on the field.

Donaldson doesn’t, either, but he said Sunday he’s close to being healthy enough to return. Acquired late Friday in a trade with Toronto, he has played in only 36 games because of shoulder and calf issues.

“It’s been difficult,” he said before Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay. “If I was writing a book, it’s not how I would have wanted it to go, but hopefully it has a happy ending.”

Donaldson took several rounds of batting practice, ran the bases and did agility drills Sunday.

MAJOR LEAGUE Baseball has told teams that it’s OK for pitchers to use the kind of scouting cards that umpire Joe West confiscated from Philadelphia reliever Austin Davis on the mound this weekend.

Phillies Manager Gabe Kapler said Sunday that he’d been informed the cards were legal. They are, provided they don’t delay games, MLB told clubs in clarifying the policy.

It has become common in the age of analytics to see outfielders and infielders pulling info cards from their pockets to check on proper positioning. But the sight of a pitcher doing it on the mound caught a lot of attention at Citizens Bank Park.

The unusual situation occurred Saturday night in the eighth inning of the Chicago Cubs’ 7-1 win at Philadelphia.

The NL Central-leading Cubs were ahead 5-1 as Addison Russell approached the plate. Davis took the reference card from his back pocket, checked the scouting report on Russell, and then put it away.

West, in his 41st season, came in from third base and took the card. He said it was illegal under Rule 6.02(c)(7), which states that the pitcher shall not have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance.

Kapler and Davis said the left-hander was looking at the card merely for information on the Cubs hitters.

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