Injured Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale looks at a bat in the dugout during a game against the Houston Astros earlier this month at Fenway Park in Boston. AP file photo

BOSTON — Red Sox ace Chris Sale pitched his second live batting practice Wednesday here at Fenway Park. His fastball velocity reached the mid-90s.

“What we saw today was eye-opening,” Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said. “Good slider. Good changeup. 94-95 (mph) velocity.”

Cora especially was impressed with the command of Sale’s pitches.

“That’s something that I didn’t expect,” Cora said. “He was able to throw fastballs inside, fastballs arm-side up and away to put people away. The changeup was good, the slider was good. Throughout the process, I do believe that that’s kind of like the last thing you get – the changeup and command. And for him to be dotting pitches already, it’s a great sign.”

Sale – who underwent Tommy John surgery March, 30, 2020 – will continue his throwing progression at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers while the Red Sox hit the road for a six-game West Coast trip in Oakland and Anaheim beginning Friday.

He’ll throw another two-inning live BP next week. He then might go on a rehab assignment depending on how he feels.

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“It’s not guaranteed but it’s trending that way,” Cora said.

He’s likely to make all his rehab starts at Triple-A Worcester and Double-A Portland.

Cora stressed that the Red Sox need to be patient.

“But he already is making an impact in the clubhouse. Just his mere presence. His communication with other guys is helping.”

Sale posted a 6-11 record with a 4.40 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 3.39 FIP in 25 starts during 2019. He missed time with elbow inflammation in 2019 and shoulder inflammation in 2018.
Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed Sale’s procedure at the Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles.

“Like I said before, nobody can trade for Chris Sale,” Cora said. “We can add Chris Sale to the equation. This is a guy, he’s looking forward to contribute. He’s in a great frame of mind. Physically, he looks tremendous.”

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